The herons have come
to settle on the marudu trees
overlooking the fields.
A banquet of fish from fields,
mirrored in the pond’s blue waters,
And you hail from that land, my husband.
The new women you are feasting on
are clean and fresh.
Only I appear like a ghost to you
now that I have borne you a child.
This poem is excerpted from Love Stands Alone (Penguin/Viking, Rs399), a selection of poems from classical Tamil or Sangam literature (600 BC-300 BC). Among the qualities of this corpus of poetry are its diversity of situations and its vivid relation of the natural world to human moods and predicaments. Very little biographical information is available about the poet Orampokiyar. The translations are by the scholar of Tamil literature, M.L. Thangappa.
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