Akananuru: Palai – Poem 55

(The mother’s answer to her friends who console her on the elopement of her daughter)

The orb of the sun that moves in the heavens
Sense forth its fierce rays to the Earth;
The heat causes even the rocks to split.
The route stretching long is so hot
That even the flying birds wilt and die.
The gravel, sharp like chisel, puncture the feet of the wayfarers
Who might fall dead anywhere in the wilderness
Full of singed bamboo clusters burnt by the fierce heat
It is through this path, my daughter eloped with her lover,
A lad strong like a tusker of enormous strength
And I grow weak heaving heart sighs
Like unto the bellow of the ironsmith.
My heart is on fire. I canst not shut my eyes in slumber,
And my mind presents to me the picture
Of my daughter’s wading through the wilderness,
Ceralatan fought with Karikalvalavan with weapons
Bright at the battle-field of Vennipparantalai
And got wounded on his back;
Besieged by shame caused by his ignoble wound,
He fasted unto death, facing north
With sword in his hand, in the field where he lost to his foe.
The news bitter and sweet at once, fill on the ears of the wise,
Who gave up their ghost forthwith following their monarch to Valhalla.
I feel not sorry for the reason that my daughter eloped with her lover
Through a terrible wilderness; But I grieve deep and wrestle with my life
That refuses to quit like unto that of Ceralatan’s bound, as it is to this earth.

Poet Mamulanar
Translated by Dr. A. Dakshinamurthy
AKANANURU: Volume I KALITRIYANAI NIRAI, Bharathidasan University, 1999.

Note: One’s friends fasting unto death was an ancient practice. This happened in the case of Koperumcholan, who fasted unto death due to a misunderstanding with his sons.

(Purananuru: 217,220,221,222)

 

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