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Most Fav. Love-Poem : Red Earth and Pouring Rain

Discussion in 'Poetry' started by Manjureddy, Feb 14, 2007.

  1. Manjureddy

    Manjureddy Gold IL'ite

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    Greetings to all who are celebrating LOVE today (Val.Day)
    and to all who have made LOVE the background music for their entire lives.

    I wish to share with you my most favourite love poem:

    It is a Classical Tamil poem from The Kurunthogai Anthology of Sangam Literature. Author is unknown, but for reference's sake, Tamil Pandits have called him(?) "Chempulap-Peineerar" which refers to the picturesque idiom used in its last line.
    The period assigned to it is between 1 BC to 3AD.

    "Yaayum (n)yaayum yaaraagiyaro
    Yendaiyum Nundaiyum emmurai kelir
    Yaanum neeyum evvazhi aridhum
    chempulap-peineer pola
    anbudai nenjamthan kalandanavey

    The translation ( by renowned folklorist, the late AK Ramanujan):

    What could my mother be to yours ?
    What kin my father to yours anyway ?
    How did you and I meet ever?
    But in love, our hearts have mingled
    As red earth and pouring rain.

    I adore this poem for its simplicity, its straightforewardness and the evocative similie at the end. Besides, its all heart. What can denote a more complete mingling than rain and earth , where both the components still hold their individuality but cannot be seen seperate ?
    Its a poem which has no age. It can be quoted by a Neanderthal as well as a Software geek and make perfect sense to their respective love -interests.

    There is no indication of the poet's gender here. But I am convinced that it could have only come out of a woman in love. A girl who has lived all her life in the shelter of loving parents, when suddenly confronted by the awakening of an emotion as strong as romantic love for a stranger, is in a state of bewilderment, awe and irresistible passion, which is amply exhibited in the short lines. Only a girl can have the sensitivity to think of her loving parents at a point like this.

    Left to a man( and a classical poet at that !) he would have sqandered the first four lines on doe-eyes, wasp-waist, pearl-teeth and banana stem-limbs, I'm sure !
    A few years ago, this poem ( as a poster) was exhibited in the Underground stations in UK ( Tube train), as part of a running effort to develop/popularise literary appreciation among general public. Poems from all over the world are used in this campaign. I think it was Gowri Ramnarayan ( correct me if wrong, I'm not very sure) who helped in selecting this one for the World Classical Age entries.

    The imagery of Red Earth and Pouring Rain is so powerful and eloquent, lending itself to many layers of significances, that author Vikram Chandra used it as the title for his magic-realism book about Identity in colonial times.

    Recently, a pair of ancient skeletons in eternal embrace was dug up by Italian archeologists. The moment I saw the picture in newspapers, my heart started reciting "Yaayum Yaayum....."

    Manjula
     
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  2. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Manjula,
    That was a good poem that u have presented here, with translation and your appreciation of it! I also felt the simplicity and the depth in its feel......and liked the earth and rain mingling but retaining their identity, part....it sounds so good!
    Also yeah i think this can be felt so deep in heart by a woman only and thinking about parents too...you r right, it could only be a girl!:2thumbsup:

    happy valentine's day to you too!
     
  3. varudhini

    varudhini Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear Manjula

    Though I do not know Tamil, I am impressed by your translation work. Really good. I too agree with you that the writer of this poem could be a girl.


    :yes:Only a girl can have the sensitivity to think of her loving parents at a point like this. Good explanation.

    Regards
    Varudhini.

    PS: Regularly I read all your posts and they are really enjoyable, esp in Varalotti's thread.
     
  4. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for bringing this poem to us Manjureddy along with its meaning.
    The poem is simple and raw, goes straight to the basics of true love. Nice one for this Valentine's Day.

    L, Kamla
     
  5. Vandhana

    Vandhana Silver IL'ite

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    Dear manju,

    A beautifully simple poem. And you are right, i too think the author would have been a woman. I love the idea of red earth and pouring rain.
    Thans for bringing this poem to our attention. Please do post more pieces like this.

    Vandhana
     
  6. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Manjula,

    Really loved the poem. Pls post more with your awesome translations, or else Tamil morons like me won't get the beauty of it. Happy valentine's Day to you and yours!(Pls tune into LOVE strumming in the background).

    affly
    Vidya

    PS:Manju- am adding this later.Noticed what you have mentioned that the translation is by Ramanujam.Thanks for appending ir or else Tamil morons----
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2007
  7. vidyasarada

    vidyasarada Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Manjula
    I remember having read in The Hindu maybe 3-4 years ago about this movement to put up posters containing poems from all over, so that people waiting for their trains in the Underground can while away their time pleasantly. And that a Tamil poem from Sangam Age was being sent. I dint read any follow up news about it.
    So finally, this is the one !

    Lovely poem.

    Yes, I too feel this can only be the sentiment of a woman.
    I started reading that Vikram Chandra you have mentioned, but never finished it. Now, forgotten!

    VS
     
  8. Tamildownunder

    Tamildownunder Bronze IL'ite

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    Hi, Manjula,

    Excellent poem and very good translation into Tamil. Thanks for sharing and I am looking forward to more such poems from you.
     

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