A Poem for Earth Day from the Classical Tamil

April 22, 2009

I can’t think of anything better to say on Earth Day than what the early classical Tamil poet Auvaiyar wrote two millennia ago:

Bless you, earth:

or hill,

you are only as good
as the good young men
in each place.

Auvaiyar (Tamil: ஔவையார்)(also Auvayar) was the name of one of the most famous and important female poets of the Tamil canon of southern India.  She lived during the Sangam period (c. first and second century C.E.) and wrote 59 poems in Purananuru (புறநானூறு).

Poems translated by A.K. Ramanujan from Poems of Love and War.

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