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Saturday, 11 May 2019

Saturday Rave: Red Earth and Pouring Rain by Sembula Peyaneerar

Some people say this Tamil poem is twelve thousand years old, but most of those who claim to be expert say it was probably written in the first three hundred years AD.

It's the only poem we have by Sembula Peyaneerar.

It's very short, but layered with meaning, from the obvious image of the monsoon rain rushing to merge and soften the baked earth which allows the flowers to bloom, to (I'm told) the unmentioned but always present kurinji flower, which blooms every twelve years and is a symbol of a girl's maturity.

What could my mother be to yours?
What kin is my father to yours anyway?
And how did you and I ever meet?

But in love our hearts have mingled
Like red earth and pouring rain.

In the beautiful Tamil script it looks like this:

குறிஞ்சி - தலைவன் கூற்று
யாயும் ஞாயும் யாரா கியரோ,
எந்தையும் நுந்தையும் எம்முறைக் கேளிர்,
யானும் நீயும் எவ்வழி யறிதும்,
செம்புலப் பெயனீர் போல,
அன்புடை நெஞ்சம் தாங்கலந் தனவே.
-செம்புலப் பெயனீரார். 

File:Kurinji Flowers.jpg
kurinji flower, photo by Johirsuresh1998

Word To Use Today: earth. This word comes from the Old English eorthe, and is related to the Greek erā.

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