Kuruntokai (The Short Collection) is an anthology of classical Tamil verse collected by Pooriko Nachinarkiniyar in the sixth or the seventh century CE. The poems are lyrics of love and longing. Apparently they offer layers of religious symbolism. Here are two translations of #36, giving some sense of the original:
Poem from the purple-flowered hills Talaivi says to her friend— He swore “my heart is true. I’ll never leave you.” My lover from the hills, where the manai creepers sometimes mount the shoulders of elephants asleep among the boulders, promised this on that day when he embraced my shoulders, making love to me. Why cry, my dear friend? Paranar, Kuruntokai, verse 36, translated by A. Anupama
She Said On his hills, the ma:nai creeper that usually sprawls on large round stones sometimes takes to a sleeping elephant. At parting, his arms twined with mine he gave me inviolable guarantees that he would live in my heart without parting. Friends, why do you think that is any reason for grieving? Paranar (Kuruntokai 36), translated by A.K. Ramanujan
Or #46 …
Poem from the fertile fields and fragrant trees Talaivi says— Don’t you think they have sparrows wherever he has gone, with wings like faded water lilies, bathing in the dung dust in the village streets before pecking grain from the yards and returning to their chicks in the eaves, common as evening loneliness? Mamalatan, Kuruntokai, verse 46, translated by A. Anupama
She Said Don't they really have in the land where he has gone such things as house sparrows dense-feathered, the color of fading water lilies, pecking at grain drying on yards, playing with the scatter of the fine dust of the street's manure and living with their nestlings in the angles of the penthouse and miserable evenings, and loneliness? Ma:mala:tan (Kuruntokai 46), translated by A.K. Ramanujan
I’ll try a reply:
We used to watch sparrows like this one. They'd look up at her, at me, hopeful, Head tilted: crumbs? fly away? Now it's only me. This one flutters up To hunch under an eve and wait. When the rain stops, maybe it will find a bite.