Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Ainkurunooru – 309

Her friend says:

O’ man from the hills! You wish to cross
hot barren lands in this summer month, fine;
The wealth you earn by going across,
is it sweeter than seeing
your loving wife’s first born son smile?

தோழி கூற்று:

வேனில் திங்கள் வெஞ் சுரம் இறந்து
செலவு அயர்ந்தனையால் நீயே; நன்றும்
நின் நயந்து உறைவி கடுஞ் சூல் சிறுவன்
முறுவல் காண்டலின், இனிதோ
இறு வரை நாட! நீ இறந்து செய் பொருளே?

The arid landscape poems (பாலைத் திணை)  in Sangam literature talk about separation. In this poem the man from the hills wants to go across the arid lands in summer to earn his wealth. His wife doesn’t want him to leave. So she sends her friend to dissuade him. The friend asks him, “All the wealth you earn by going across, is it more precious than seeing the smile of your first born son?”

It is not clear from the poem or its commentary whether she is still pregnant or has already given birth. I lean towards seeing it as a poem written from the point of a pregnant woman. She wants him to be near her when she births his first son.

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