Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Kurunthokai – 27

Like a fine cow’s sweet milk spilt on ground
neither sating its calf
nor milked in a pot,
my pale pudenda and dusky beauty
neither useful to me
nor satisfying my lord,
are left for love sickness to devour.

கன்றும் உண்ணாது, கலத்தினும் படாது,
நல் ஆன் தீம் பால் நிலத்து உக்காஅங்கு,
எனக்கும் ஆகாது, என்னைக்கும் உதவாது,
பசலை உணீஇயர் வேண்டும்-
திதலை அல்குல் என் மாமைக் கவினே

This is a well known poem in Kurunthokai. Written by Velli Veethiyaar, one of the few women poets in Sangam literature, this talks about a girl pining for her lover. They have separated and he has gone away (some commentators say she is widowed). She cannot forget him and because of that her beauty is losing its sheen. She equates that to a cow’s milk that is not drunk by its calf nor collected in a pot, spilling on the ground and going waste. An arresting simile.

Many translations and commentaries skip the word அல்குல் – pudenda. Based on context it either means pudenda or hip. In this poem it is clear that it is pudenda. I too thought of using an euphemism or skipping it altogether, but finally decided to stick to the original.

Advertisements

Single Post Navigation

One thought on “Kurunthokai – 27

  1. சினிமா பார்த்து வளர்ந்த பலகீனமான கூட்டத்தினரான எம்மனோர்க்கு, இந்த பாட்டு இஷா கோப்பிக்கர் வழியாகத் தான் அறிமுகம்.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: