Bharathiyar’s Poem : Rendezvous missed


Translated by Lekha Murali


Rendezvous missed

By banks of the sacred river, on the southern corner,
In the garden of Champaka1 (flowers),
Should I wait, you promised to come in the moon
Accompanied by a friend(chaperone).
You broke your word O, Kannamma!2
       My heart is atremble!
Everywhere I look – your semblance
       Emerge in everything;

My body is gripped by (your) fever, as my head spins
Causing unbearable torment.
Behold, the spaces in the sky,
Embraced by this roving moon,
While silent is this world, Immersed in slumber
Should I alone whirl about,
        In this hell of estrangement?



1Champaka – A short flowering tree with light-yellow colored flowers. Champaka flowers are found widely in Indian literature in the context of romance, because of its strong, heady fragrance.
2Kannamma is Bharathiyar’s personification of Lord Krishna into a woman. He has written several songs for Kannamma, his beloved. Kannamma is also a female name in Tamil, also used as a term of endearment for a female.

The poem is about a lover’s broken promise over their rendezvous. It reveals the heartbreak of the man when his girlfriend broke her promise about their meeting. The poem has four stanzas. Only two of them are translated in this post.
This  poem is part of the series titled, ‘Kannamma en Kaadhali’ (Kannamma my beloved’).

Original poem in Tamil

கண்ணம்மா என் காதலி – 5

குறிப்பிடம் தவறியது

(செஞ்சுருட்டி – ஆதிதாளம், சிருங்காரரசம்)

செண்பக தோட்டத்திலே,
பார்த்திருந்தால் வருவேன்–வெண்ணிலாவிலே
பாங்கியோடு என்று சொன்னாய்.
வார்த்தை தவறிவிட்டாய்–அடி கண்ணம்மா!
மார்பு துடிக்குதடி!
பார்த்தவிடத்திலெல்லாம்-உன்னை போலவே
பாவை தெரியுதடி!

மேனி கொதிக்குதடி-தலை சுற்றியே
வேதனை செய்குதடி!
வானில் இடத்திலெல்லாம்-இந்த வெண்ணிலா
வந்து தழுவுது பார்.
நரகத்து உழளுவதோ?


Originally published at on October 24, 2016.