Visual Delight – Explaining a poem through series of pictures – Akanaanooru 11


11. பாலை
வானம் ஊர்ந்த வயங்கு ஔத மண்டிலம்
நெருப்பு எனச் சிவந்த உருப்பு அவிர் அம் காட்டு,
இலை இல மலர்ந்த முகை இல் இலவம்
கலி கொள் ஆயம் மலிபு தொகுபு எடுத்த
5 அம் சுடர் நெடுங் கொடி பொற்பத் தோன்றி,
கயம் துகள் ஆகிய பயம் தபு கானம்
எம்மொடு கழிந்தனர்ஆயின், கம்மென,
வம்பு விரித்தன்ன பொங்கு மணற் கான் யாற்றுப்
படு சினை தாழ்ந்த பயில் இணர் எக்கர்,
10 மெய் புகுவு அன்ன கை கவர் முயக்கம்
அவரும் பெறுகுவர்மன்னே! நயவர,
நீர் வார் நிகர் மலர் கடுப்ப, ஓ மறந்து
அறு குளம் நிறைக்குந போல, அல்கலும்
அழுதல் மேவல ஆகி,
15 பழி தீர் கண்ணும் படுகுவமன்னே!
தலைமகன் பொருள்வயிற் பிரிந்த இடத்து, ஆற்றாளாய தலைமகள் வேறுபாடு கண்டு ஆற்றாளாய தோழிக்கு, தலைமகள், ‘ஆற்றுவல்’என்பது படச் சொல்லியது. – ஔவையார்

I have tried to explain on poem of Auvaiyar in a visual manner.  Lets first see this poem from Akanaanuru.

11. பாலை

வானம் ஊர்ந்த வயங்கு ஒளி மண்டிலம்

நெருப்பு எனச் சிவந்த உருப்பு அவிர் அம் காட்டு,

இலை இல மலர்ந்த முகை இல் இலவம்

கலி கொள் ஆயம் மலிபு தொகுபு எடுத்த

அம் சுடர் நெடுங் கொடி பொற்பத் தோன்றி,

கயம் துகள் ஆகிய பயம் தபு கானம்

எம்மொடு கழிந்தனர்ஆயின், கம்மென,

வம்பு விரித்தன்ன பொங்கு மணற் கான் யாற்றுப்

படு சினை தாழ்ந்த பயில் இணர் எக்கர்,

மெய் புகுவு அன்ன கை கவர் முயக்கம்

அவரும் பெறுகுவர்மன்னே! நயவர,

நீர் வார் நிகர் மலர் கடுப்ப, ஓ மறந்து

அறு குளம் நிறைக்குந போல, அல்கலும்

அழுதல் மேவல ஆகி,

பழி தீர் கண்ணும் படுகுவமன்னே!

தலைமகன் பொருள்வயிற் பிரிந்த இடத்து, ஆற்றாளாய தலைமகள் வேறுபாடு கண்டு ஆற்றாளாய தோழிக்கு, தலைமகள், ‘ஆற்றுவல்’என்பது படச் சொல்லியது. – ஔவையார்

Akanaanooru 11

The round blazing sun

creeps in the sky,

raging as a fire

in the forest,

and the silk cotton tress

is leafless

yet in flower

without a bud,

like a long array

of red lamps

in the month of karttikai

lit happily

by bustling women,

in the fruitless forest

where the pools are dry,dusty.

If only

he’d spent the time with me,

it would go fast,

if only he’d walk swiftly with me

on the dunes

over hung with flowering boughs,

all fragrant,

where the forest stream flows now

and the sand

is laid out like a woman’s bodice,

he could have what arms desire,

loving embraces,

body entering body,

and then my guiltless eyes

that now fill

ceaselessly like barren pools

fed by secret springs

could put aside

their daily sorrow

and find some sleep.

Poet:  Auvaiyar

Translated by A.K.Ramanujan

This poem spell bound me for the simple reason ‘aEttu surakai vazhkaiku uthavathu’  . IF you have read the poem re read the poem so many times, never once you can understand the visual imagery portrayed in this poem.

This could be another ‘first in the net’ kind of effort, I am trying to visually present the imagery described by the poet.

Visual Imagery:

Ilavam or Silk cotton trees are very fast growing trees. In India their habitat seems to be forest with very very high temperature.

The poet now describes a stage where ‘the silk cotton tress is leafless yet in flower without a bud’.

First we’ll see how Ilavam flower look,

இலவம்_ilavam
இலவம்_ilavam

You can see it to be red flowers. If you see the green balls around they are the buds and also in deep back ground you can notice the tree has leaves.

So how does the ‘the silk cotton tress is leafless yet in flower without a bud’ look?

here it is

http://www.banana-tree.com/catalog%20images/image343.jpg

If you notice the photo , you will notice there are no leaves and nearly no buds and only the flowers are present. This is the state explained by the poet.

Lets look at flower more closely,

இலவம்_illavam

http://www.gardinonursery.com/images/Rareflora/bombaxmalab.jpg

You will notice that the flower has  dark red petals and center with bright shades of yellow and red. With slight imagination it looks like a flame in red mud container , like below

Karthika vilakku 2

Just think of so many Ilavam flowers scattered around in one tree and think about the whole stretch of trees in the forest with so many Ilavam flowers on them. The poet builds an imagery that the Forest with the silk cotton flowers looked like

‘like a long array of red lamps in the month of karttikai lit happily by bustling women’.

So the poet compare this ,

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1194/1010558205_e05999a2bd.jpg?v=0

to this,

And this imagery can never be realised how beautiful it is, unless and until seen by our own eyes. There is no end to the imagination of the poets of the sangam. Their intimate knowledge of nature was beautifully blended into any love poems producing some brilliant imagery. I am happy to decode one of the imagery and see it  with my own eyes.

Commentry on the poem:

The  Thalaivan is away in search of pride or material(on war or business) ,he has to pass through palai region which i s fruitless ,dry and arid. But if Thalaivan was with Thalaivi they could have enjoyed their time near the river bed and enjoyed the pleasures of love(and love making). If that had happened she would have stopped crying and slept for while, which she is unable to do when her lover is away.

I have noted some thing really interesting in the translation and the original poem,

observe these lines by A.K.Ramanujan,

“loving embraces,

body entering body”

body entering body is clear indication that the activity was love making. So I had a doubt, from what ever I have heard Sangam poems never exclusively contains a word which means ‘making love’. So I went through the leixcon to find the meaning of the word …

முயக்கம் muyakkam n. < முயங்கு-. 1. Embrace; தழுவுகை. பொருட்பெண்டிர் பொய்ம்மை முயக்கம் (குறள், 913). 2. Copulation; புணர்ச்சி. முயக்கம் பெற்றவழி (ஐங்குறு. 93, உரை). 3. Connection; uniting, joining; சம்பந்தம். ஆணவத் தின் முயக்கமற்று (தணிகைப்பு. நந்தி. 110).

The word means embrace as well as making love. So taking the words before it

‘மெய் புகுவு அன்ன கை கவர் முயக்கம்’

மெய் – body, புகுவு- entering, அன்ன- equivalent,like
கை – hand கவர்- liking
Then if we place முயக்கம் the best meaning should be what possibly a hand can do is embrace the lover. Then take in the whole situation, they are alone and after seperation(though their uniting is imaginary..it is fueled by seperation), near the river side (think about the yarum illai thane kalvan poem…the heroine has lost her virginity near the river bed) , if we add all the situation we get an answer and likely and most possible speculation that they were going to make love. The poet himself is making us speculate that way, by choosing to employ a word which also means copulation.
The poet throws us sitatuion where we are open to imagination of what happened between them by using careful words instead of explicitly saying they made love. This is the speciality of the sangam agam poems, where they never directly refer to the act of love making or sexual union. They either use smilies,metaphors and imageries to describe it or unique case like this where the poet has used word with two meanings which also means copulation but the word embrace seems to fit perfectly to the string of words she has used.
There is another imagery the poet has used here ,
“the sand

is laid out like a woman’s bodice”

the orginal tamil meaning also the same

” வம்பு விரித்தன்ன பொங்கு மணற் ”

only word to be researched here is ,

20. Stays for woman’s breast; மூலைக்கச்சு.
lets see wat kaccu means,

n. cf. kañcuka. [M. kaccu, Kur. gajji.] A kind of corset worn by Indian women in ancient times; முலைக்கச்சு. கச்சது கடிந்து (கல்லா. 44).

“The kancuka are of mid-thigh length with short or long sleeves; in some the opening is on the left side, and in others it is at the front. The tunic worn by a king in hunting dress has no discernible opening at the neck, so it is probably at the back. Necklines too differed in that some were V-shaped and others were round in shape.” http://www.4to40.com/discoverindia/index.asp?article=discoverindia_satavahana

Kaccu a deravative of kancuka means a robe with stiches and opening and a neck pattern. Vambu means a kaccu specificly worn for the breast. So we can imagine it was wear which was close enough to present day pattu pavadai blouse or saree blouse. Just imagine how it would look when its spread.(Sorry for not adding any picture…when I google to find a blouse to show exaclty what poet meets, i am able to find decent enough pics, according to me to post it on the blog.. since every body has seen a blouse I hope you can imagine that easily and how it will look when it is pread out.) So lets see how the sand which has patterns like a spread out blouse would look like,

http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/staticfiles/NGS/Shared/StaticFiles/Photography/Images/Content/egypt-sand-dunes-300632-ga.jpg

——————————————————————————–

Reference:

Tamil Lexicon

Akanaanooru urai by U V Swaminathan Iyer

Poems of Love and War by A.K.Ramanujan

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16 thoughts on “Visual Delight – Explaining a poem through series of pictures – Akanaanooru 11

  1. Oh! it’s really a beautiful visual explanation.. congrats.. and continue for ever..

    Dhivakar

  2. Thanks, Vairam for beautifully capturing and explaning such wonderful verses. Wish I’d paid more attention to seyyul in school days 😦
    You have even surpassed A.K.Ramanujam with great cross-referencing and creative ideas.

  3. Your explanation with visuals has translated 100% what the poet meant 2000 years back.i also agree that you surpassed AKR..Please, link these articles to wikipedia..

  4. பொருத்தமான காட்சி விளக்கம்.சங்கப்பாடல்களை இதுபோல் விளக்குவோம்.என் நவிரமலை கட்டுரை பாருங்கள்.பல படம் இணைத்துள்ளேன்.இப்பொழுது சென்றிருந்தால் இன்னும் சிறந்த படங்கள் எடுத்திருப்பேன்

    மு.இளங்கோவன்
    புதுச்சேரி

  5. comparing a women’s bodice to sand dunes- has also been done by
    Sri Krishnadevaraya – in his composition
    Amuktyamalyada in telugu. while describing the beauty of andal. the poem is the story of andal and her marriage to sri ranganathar.

  6. Fantastic explanation. The visual is superb. You have strained much to this visual. Congratulations. Continue similar concepts.

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