Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Kandhapuranam – 10165

The hill chieftain’s daughter are you;
I’m not lucky to caress you like the pool you bathe in,
paste you don or flowers you put on.
Languishing here, what shall I do?

கோடிவர் நெடுவரைக் குறவர் மாதுநீ
ஆடிய சுனையதாய் அணியும் சாந்தமாய்ச்
சூடிய மலர்களாய்த் தோயப் பெற்றிலேன்
வாடினன் இனிச்செயும் வண்ணம் ஆவதே.

This is from Kandha Puranam (written by Kachchiyappa Sivachariyar in 14th century AD), the story of Tamil God Murugan’s exploits. Murugan goes in disguise as a hunter and falls in love with Valli, a girl from the hills. This poem is Murugan trying to convince Valli to be his lover. “I am not lucky enough to be the things that touch your body – the water you bathe or the sandal paste you apply or the flowers you wear. I languish here unable to embrace you. What else shall I do?”

This is an oft repeated motif in Tamil poetry from Andal Pasurams of 8th century to Tamil movie lyrics of 20th century (உன் சேலை நூலாகவோ நான் உன் கூந்தல் பூவாகவோ). If you can read Tamil, read the Kandhapuranam Tamil poem aloud to savor the cadence of the poem.

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