Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Puranaanooru – 252

His hair’s greyed as he bathes
in noisy white waterfalls,
and is matted like thillai* leaves;
He, who plucks leaves from dense creepers,
was once a hunter who held
naive peahen like woman at home
spell bound with a net of words!

*Thillai – milky mangrove tree

கறங்கு வெள் அருவி ஏற்றலின், நிறம் பெயர்ந்து,
தில்லை அன்ன புல்லென் சடையோடு,
அள் இலைத் தாளி கொய்யுமோனே
இல் வழங்கு மட மயில் பிணிக்கும்
சொல் வலை வேட்டுவன் ஆயினன், முன்னே!

The poet meets a warrior turned ascetic in the forests. The poet has known in him worldly life earlier and is surprised by how he has changed. The poet says to his fellow travelers, “This man is now an ascetic staying in forests. His hair is greyed because of bathing in noisy white water falls. His hair is matted like leaves of thillai (Milky mangrove) tree. You can see him pluck leaves from creepers in this woods. In his previous life he was such a persuasive lover that he used to hold his naive woman spellbound with his words. He was like a hunter with a net of words.”

The phrase “சொல்வலை வேட்டுவன்” – Hunter with a net of words makes this poem special. That’s every story teller’s dream – to hold his audience spell bound with words.

Blind_Your_Eye_Flower_02.jpg

Milky Mangrove tree 

Source : By Vengolis – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26616445

கறங்கு – noisy
வெள் – white
தில்லை -Milky Mangrove tree
அன்ன – like
அள் – dense / close
தாளி – creeper
கொய்தல் – pluck
இல் – home
மட – naive
பிணித்தல் – tie down / bound

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