Monday, November 01, 2010

Red Earth and Pouring Rain

It is evening and it is quiet. I have found myself, strangely, earnestly, eagerly awaiting rain. Perhaps just sound. Perhaps a whiff of water seeping into soil. Perhaps even a word of faraway skies and precipitous clouds. The promise of rain.

I first read this poem in Vikram Chandra's book of fantastical kings, faraway lands, and typing monkeys. I won't spoil it by adding my own narrative yet, but this is how it goes.

What He Said

What could my mother be
to yours? What kin my father
to yours anyway? And how
did you and I meet ever?
But in love
Our hearts have mingled
like red earth and pouring rain.

-- Cempulappeyanirar
("Kuruntokai 40"; translated by a.k.ramanujan, in "The Interior Landscape: Love Poems from a Classical Tamil Anthology".)

The poem belong to the period of classical Tamil literature known as the Sangam era, dated roughly between 600 BC to 300 AD. The poet's name also translates to mean "red earth and pouring rain".

This post was written on the 1st of November. Today it is already December. This morning, I had a conversation with a friend who told me about waiting for rain. So I suppose it's time to publish this.