Kuruntokai - More of poems

Poetry written at the time of Sangham age( 300 years before to 200 years after crist) Tamilnadu. thease verses were written by 5 poets about the five moods of love. great sangham poets bring in the typical flora and fauna of the region. these poems have been translated in to English by A. V Subramanian for Sahitya Akedemi.

The boy to the friend of the girl
Those in whom the seed
Of love has taken root
Might ride a horse of leaves,
Wearing round their heads
Garlands of the bloom
Of even the arka plant,
Might welcome being riled
By crowds in the public streets,
Might do all these things
And other things besidesó Those men with hearts assailed
By the deadly darts of love!
(Kuruntokai 17)

The friend of the girl speaks
I grant you love her, 0 chief of the hills!
But you donít see how she wastes away
With all this delay in your coming together
In holy wedlock her love has grown
Almost too great for her slender frame
To contain it. Havnít you seen
Gigantic jack-fruits in your native hill
Hanging by their slender stalks?
A touch may fell them, the littlest breeze
A careless brush by a passing beast
May send them crashing down to the ground.
If you fail to secure her
Through a proper wedding, mountain chieftain.
The fruit of her love growing great
May well snap the slender stalk
Of her fragile life, crashing down,
A useless mass that will rot away
Unsavoured, unfulfilled.
(Kuruntokai 18)

 The boy to himself:
Lament, 0 heart, grown lustreless
Like the heads of bards who strum the lute,
Heads bereft of golden bloom
On the death of Evvy, patron of arts?
What is that girl to you in truth?
The girl who wears coiffeured braids
Smelling sweet with the brightest blossom
Of the mullai creeper that blooms at night
Twining round the tree that grows
On a side of the house. How does the girl
Matter to you, 0 heart of mine?
(Kuruntokal 19)

The girl to her friend
If only those that can leave behind
Their devoted wives and the bond of love
And compassion and consideration
Can be termed stout of heart
Let him earn the vaulted title!
And let me get the sobriquet
Of the scatter-brain, I shall not mind!
(Kuruntokai 20)

The girl to the friend
The woods are in bloom with the konrai trees
Putting forth golden flowers.
Even like the coiffeured hair of girls
Bedecked with ornaments
Interspersed with blossoms opened
By the tread of swarms of bees.
The trees all appear to proclaim to the world
The coming of the rainy season,
But me? I can not believe their words
For he isnít a Liar, for sure

(The boy did not return with the onset of the rainy season but girl with an unshakeable faith in his words refuses to accept what her sense  tell her, that the rains have in fact started)

(Kuruntokai 21)

The friend to the girl who is anguished at the signs that the husband intends to journey to distant lands

On the slope of the hill, the kadamba tree
Brings forth clusters of flowers with a whorl.
Your forehead, dear, gives off the same
Sweet perfume as the kadamba bloom.
Which young man will leave behind
His loving wife in the height of Spring
Condemned to a life of lonely tears?
If he goes, you go with him!

(Kuruntokai 22)

The girl to herself:
The neem tree is in full bloom now
And its flowers fetch a price in the market
But what is the use of such wealth coming,
With the lord of my heart away from me?
He has been gone for so long a time
And the wagging tongues of village women
Have lashed me in my grief to a pulp.
Even like the fruit of the fig tree growing
On the bank of river crushed by a swarm
Of eager crabs to a shapeless mass.

(Kuruntokai 24)


My Voice | Poetry In Our Time | In The Name Of Poetry | Editor's Choice | Our Masters
Who We Are | Back Issues | Submission | Contact Us | Home