endhaiyum nundhaiyum emmuraik kelir
yaanum neeyum evvazhi arithum
chembulap peyalneer pola
anbudai nenjamdaan kalandhanavae
– Chembulappeyalneeraar (Kuruntokai 40)
What He Said
What could my mother be to yours?
What kin is my father to yours anyway?
And how did you and I meet ever?
But in love our hearts are
As red earth and pouring rain: mingled beyond parting.
– Trans. by A.K. Ramanujan
This is a Thamizh poem from Sangam Literature.
“And the vintage Tamil verse became the first (also the only Asian and Indian) poem in a set of six, now displayed on the London subway through June-July 2001.”
For further reading:
Poems of Love and War by A.K. Ramanujan