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The Monday Poem > Poems from Tamil Sangam Literature

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message 1: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments 1.
What He Said

What could my mother be
to yours? What kin is my father
to yours anyway? And how
did you and I meet ever?
But in love our hearts are as red
earth and pouring rain:
mingled beyond parting.

Cembulappeyani:ra:r (Kuruntokai 40)

2.
What She Said

Look, friend,
fear of scandal will, only thin out passion.
And if I should just give up my love
to end this dirty talk,
I will be left only with my shame.

My virgin self of which he partook
is now like a branch half broken
by an elephant,
bent, not yet fallen to the ground,
still attached to the mother tree
by the fiber of its bark.
A:lattu:rkira:r (Kuruntokai 112)


message 2: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments A small note on Tamil Sangam Literature: Look at this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sangam_l...

The best translations of the Tamil Classic Sangam poems are by A. K Ramanujan. The book in Englsih translation is titled as Poems of Love and War: From the Eight Anthologies and the Ten Long Poems of Classical Tamil

You can also look in to some more of the love poems in the following link: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~pehook...


message 3: by LauraT (last edited Nov 27, 2013 12:45AM) (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 13121 comments Mod
Intriguigin poems Dhanaraj. I especially appreciated the "Closeness" of strangers, if met by love.
I had never heard of him and I admit I don't know Tamil Sangam literature; I should learn ...


message 4: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (jeoblivion) | 4869 comments I was really happy to find this here Dhanaraj, you had told me about Tamil poetry but this is my first real introduction. I will take some time and looks at the links later when I am back at home.


message 5: by Gill (new)

Gill | 5720 comments Thanks, Dhanarah. I look forward to following this up.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I like these, will look at the links later


message 7: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments I particularly liked the first verse of the second part, about scandal. Perhaps that is a reflection of the Victorian novel aficionado in me...


message 8: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments These poems were written well before 2000 years or even before that.


message 9: by LauraT (last edited Nov 27, 2013 06:45AM) (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 13121 comments Mod
Leslie wrote: "I particularly liked the first verse of the second part, about scandal. Perhaps that is a reflection of the Victorian novel aficionado in me..."

;) - were you thinking of The Man of Property: The Forsyte Saga?


message 10: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 15985 comments Dhanaraj wrote: "These poems were written well before 2000 years or even before that."

I know -- but the sentiment remains much the same! A good example of the fact that as much as times & technology change, human nature doesn't.

@Laura, I was really thinking about Wives and Daughters (since I just finished the part where Molly is in trouble due to gossip) but it is a frequent theme in Victorian novels - just think of Trollope and Thackeray!


message 11: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 13121 comments Mod
Leslie wrote: "@Laura, I was really thinking about Wives and Daughters (since I just finished the part where Molly is in trouble due to gossip) but it is a frequent theme in Victorian novels - just think of Trollope and Thackeray!"

Of course it is!


message 12: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments @ Leslie: You have rightly said it about human emotions. They do not change even after many generations and after many scientific developments. That is why the literature of ancient times still speak vividly to us.


message 13: by Eliana (new)

Eliana | 24 comments Dhanaraj wrote: "@ Leslie: You have rightly said it about human emotions. They do not change even after many generations and after many scientific developments. That is why the literature of ancient times still sp..."

The familiarity of the core emotions but in a foreign context or expressed in the terms of a different world/culture is what fascinates me in literature...and, on some level might be why traditional genre distinctions don't work for me... Sherwood Smith's Inda series is mentally shelved with Tolstoy's War and Peace and, well I'll spare you the list of examples! ..but viewing the world through a different set of lenses, expanding my awareness of the range of the human experience, seeing myself and my world a little differently after spending time in another culture/time/universe are why I read... a read so intensely and almost compulsively... and each work interacts with everything that has come before it....


message 14: by Eliana (new)

Eliana | 24 comments Dhanaraj, these are exquisite... thank you! Tamil poetry is outside my area of even vague knowledge, but I have been wondering where to start. I've added the poetry collection to my wishlist - I'm hoping I can convince my library to purchase it.


message 15: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments @ Eliana, Your observation regarding literature in translation is very similar to some earlier reflections we had in the group regarding the concept 'World Literature'. And I agree completely...


message 16: by Shirley (new)

Shirley | 4177 comments Dhanaraj wrote: "@ Eliana, Your observation regarding literature in translation is very similar to some earlier reflections we had in the group regarding the concept 'World Literature'. And I agree completely..."

Yes, I think I know what you mean. Reading books from another culture has the somewhat surprising effect of enhancing one's appreciation of literature, which you would think would only be truly appreciated in books from one's own culture. I hope that makes sense and not a load of gibberish. I am a bit tired.


message 17: by Dhanaraj (new)

Dhanaraj Rajan | 2962 comments @ Shirley, It seems you have a penchant for long sentences. That is just a joke. And it was not gibberish to me. You made yourself clear.


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