A poem from a forgotten Tamil classic

An elephant chases him.
He tumbles down a pit,
swarming with snakes.
He grasps the grass
on the walls of the pit.
he sticks out his tongue
to taste the honey,
dripping from a beehive.
Such is the nature of
human joy.

– translated by me from Soolamani, a 9th century Tamil classic

ஆனை துரப்ப அரவு உறை ஆழ்குழி
நாநவிர் பற்றுபு நாளும் ஒருவன் ஓர்
தேனின் அழிதுளி நக்கும் திறத்தது
மானுடன் இன்பம் மதித்தனை கொள்நீ

Triggered by an article by Naanjil Naadan.

My friend Anurag Chabbra has translated this in Hindi – thank you Anurag:

हाथी पीछे, गड्ढा नीचे
साँपो के ऊपर इंसान
लटका, घांस को खीचे.
जीवन का रस ऐसा –
जिव्हा लपकती है फिर भी
टपकता मधू जो छते से.


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