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In Memoriam - Songs from the Purananuru - Song 356

During this month of May, as Tamils remember their loved ones that were killed as the armed conflict ended in 2009, we publish selected Poems from the classical Tamil anthology, the Purananuru (the 400 Puram poems) as we have done in previous years.

Puram refers to the exterior, public or outer – and so the Purananuru contains the Poems of War, and external life, as opposed to the Akam which refers to the interior, including the Poems of Love.

The following poem is extracted from the ‘Poems of Love and War’ by A.K. Ramanujan

Song 356 – Kattayan Kannanar sings
Tinai – Kanci (the transience of the world)

In Praise of a Cremation Ground

The jungle spreads.
Cactuses grow.
Owls hoot even by day.
And haunted by she-demons
gaping in the light of crematory fires,
this ancient smouldering crematorium grounds
looks fearful.
Lovers’ tears
wept from the heart
quench the burning white
ash and bones.

This ground,
it is the end
of everyone in the world
looks upon the backs of all men,
and hasn’t seen anyone yet,
who will look upon its back

Collection: In Memoriam - Songs from the Purananuru

Song 191 (19 May 2011)

Song 216 (18 May 2011)

Song 74 (17 May 2011)

Song 226 (16 May 2011)

Song 245 (15 May 2011)

Song 255 (14 May 2011)