in the style of the classical Tamil
Like a knot
of yellownecked caterpillars
on the underside of a witch hazel leaf
responding to the approach of danger
by arching their soft bodies
& freezing into a clump
of sudden thorns,
hoping to ward off the caress
of a wasp’s antennae:
that’s what happens
to me whenever
[Poetry Thursday – dead link]
For background on Tamil love poetry of the Sangam period, see the Wikipedia. Unfortunately, none of the late, great A. K. Ramanujan‘s translations seem to be online, but some earlier, public-domain translations are available at the Humanistic Texts site.
UPDATE: I’m wrong. Nancy at under the fire star – a Tamil Nadu-based blog – has shared a few of Ramanujan’s translations, and was kind enough to include the links in a comment below. See especially the poems at her last link.