Friday, March 20, 2009

Men have always been connoisseurs

அணங்கு ஆயினள் தான் பிறந்த ஊர்க்கே
மருதனிள நாகனார் (புறம் 349)

Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?

- Christopher Marlow, Doctor Faustus


  1. But then "beauty is a cruel mistress".

  2. Ah it is. Who was that, btw ?

    My publicist urges me to exploit the proximity of your comment to excavate a comment I once posted in a now defunct blog ambitiously attempting Bharathi translations. This was about the line:

    கச்சணிந்த கொங்கை மாதர் கண்கள் வீசு போதினும்
    in his famous அச்சமில்லை.

    I do not see this line here as reflecting the sentiment that woman is a nuisance in man's way. I say this because the overall feel of the poem is not one of renunciation. After all the fearlessness of someone who has renounced all is not so heroic. The sting of
    'இச்சை கொண்ட பொருளெலாம் இழந்து விட்ட போதினும் //
    அச்சமில்லை அச்சமில்லை அச்ச மென்ப தில்லையே//

    is precisely to show that the poet is deeply rooted in the practical world with its desires and atendant miseries. (think 'பொன்னை உயர்வை புகழை விரும்பிடும்'). But even amid all this exposure and threats he shows a steely (insane) and even frightening resolve to be undettered by the worst.

    So it is not a question of rising above things like the beauty of the feminine form. It is about saying he is strong enough to be unyielding to attractions.

    I read it as a line that relaxes the tension amid all the fuming anger in the poem. It is the aesthete acknowledging the large looming threat of Beauty.

    Vaguely remember something in Kamban when describing the beauty of womenfolk of Mithila. From nowhere he springs a didactic observation that highlights those being described marvellously.

    பெண்கள் பால் கொண்ட சிநேகம்
    பிழைப்பரோ சிறியர் பெற்றால்

    One can even forget the didacticism here. That the women were so beautiful that they set alarm bells off in the poet is the take-away here.

    I read Bharathi's lines in the same spirit. Poet first, angry man later :-)

  3. That, believe it or not, is from a Guy Ritchie movie - RocknRolla. I thought it was extremely relevant in terms the GuNa post I am writing.

    The Bharathi lines bring to mind ManikkavAsagar immediately.

    "kiLiyanAr kiLavi anjEn, avar kiRi muruval anjEn"

  4. Oh yeah Manickavasagar is strikingly similar.
    A graphic line from the same song which now leads me to think may even be Bharathi's inspiration:

    வன்புலால் வேலும் அஞ்சேன்
    வளைக்கையார் கடைக்கண் அஞ்சேன்

  5. Summava sollirukaanga...
    perarasin padaigaL thirandu por mooLum peN oruthiyin azhagin poruttu.

  6. //perarasin padaigaL thirandu por mooLum peN oruthiyin azhagin poruttu//
    ஆஹா.... சொன்னது யார் ?