Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Kurunthokai – 269

My dad, having recovered from wounds
caused while hunting ferocious sharks,
has gone back to the blue sea.
My mom, in order to barter salt for rice,
has gone to the salt pans.
I think it would be nice
to have a friend, who won’t mind
the long distance and tiring walk,
to go and tell the man from cool long shores,
that if he wants to see me, this is the time to come!

சேயாறு சென்று, துனைபரி அசாவாது,
உசாவுநர்ப் பெறினே நன்றுமன் தில்ல-
வயச் சுறா எறிந்த புண் தணிந்து, எந்தையும்
நீல நிறப் பெருங் கடல் புக்கனன்; யாயும்
உப்பை மாறி வெண்ணெல் தரீஇய
உப்பு விளை கழனிச் சென்றனள்; அதனால்,
பனி இரு பரப்பின் சேர்ப்பற்கு,
”இனி வரின் எளியள்” என்னும் தூதே.

This poem is about one of the permanent problems in love – when and how to meet if you don’t have your own place. Her father, a fisherman, has been at home for many days, recovering from wounds caused while hunting sharks. Her mother too has been at home tending to him. So the girl has not been able to meet her lover. He comes and waits beside her house afraid to come in as her parents are there. Now everyone’s back at work and she has the house to herself – it’s now or never is the message she sends him through her poem.

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