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Archana Venkatesan wins international translation award for her translation of 1102-verse Tamil poem


Tiruvāymoḻi II.4 (144-154): āṭi āṭi akam karaintu

II.4.1 She dances, dances dissolves. Sweetly
she sings, sings. Her tears flow. Everywhere
she searches, searches calling “Narasiṅkā”
She shrinks, shrivels, this girl with a bright forehead.

II.4.2 This girl weakens, longing to see you
You who cut Bāṇaṉ’s mighty arms
won’t show yourself.
You have no pity.

II.4.3 Her heart melts, like wax
held too close to a flame. You have no pity.
What can I do, lord
who ruined Laṅkā?

II.4.4 ‘You raised your banner over ruined Laṅkā’
she says. Her heart swells, her breath
burns, she weeps, bewildered
she stands, hands pressed in worship.

II.4.5 Night and day, she’s delirious. Her eyes
wet with tears are like cool dark lilies.
You won’t give her the tuḷasi she wants,
perfect lord, is this your compassion?

II.4.6 ‘You’re perfect, the one I desire’
‘You’re my life’s nectar’
she says all this,
dissolves inside.

II.4.7 Her life’s parched, she wilts.
‘Generous one, Kaṇṇaṉ’ she says,
then, ‘You rest on the white ocean’
what deceit has touched my clever girl.

II.4.8 ‘Deceiver’ she cries, then joins her hands
to pray. Her cool heart burns, she sighs
says ‘You tricked Kaṁsaṉ’
see how she suffers for you.

II.4.9 She knows neither night or day.
but she asks for your cool sweet tuḷasi.
Lord with the sharp flaming disc
what do you intend for this poor girl?

II.4.10 Night and day tears spill
from the bright eyes…

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