A poem about size and true strength by the 12th century Tamil woman, poet, and saint Avvaiyar. From her collection, “The Word that Endures.”
Magnolias have large petals; honeysuckles, a sweet fragrance.
Don’t judge a man small by his body.
The sea is vast
Yet cannot clean hands. Beside it, the little spring
Yields sweet water.
Moothurai 12, “Madal perithu thazhai.”
Translated from the Tamil by Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma
GIVE, EAT, AND LIFE: POEMS OF AVVAIYAR
Red Hen Press, Los Angeles