(Translated from the Tamil by Lakshmi Holmström)
The demon’s features are all
woman’s features are all
Poetry’s features are all
niili, wicked woman.
* The reference throughout this poem is to Karaikkal Ammai, one of the sixty-three canonized Saiva saints, who lived in the 6th century CE. Punithavathy (the ‘sacred’ or ‘holy’), as she was known in the world, was abandoned by her husband when he realized her extraordinary qualities. She then renounced her youth and beauty, took the form of a demon, and became a poet-saint devoted only to Siva.
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