I Shall Sing of Trees

Lyrics: Vairamuthu                    Ragam: Ritigowlai
Music: Sujatha Vijayaraghavan            Talam: Chatusra Ekam

                    I Shall Sing of Trees



    Creation’s painting

Exclamation mark of the earth

Contemplating the tree

A heart warming experience


Angling for the stars


Wherein laughter is poured


Brimming with life

Wisdom that Man gives not

Tree will give me.

    To birds and animals

    Assurance the tree gives

    Do we humans give?

Fruit to eat – Shade to rest

    Balm for the body – Feast to the senses

    Hovel for haven – Door to bar

    Fence beauteous – A hammock to swing

    Unguent to smear – Oil to season

    Paper to write on – Fuel to burn

    It is the tree  (Maram Thaan)

    It is the tree (Maram Thaan)

    All from the tree


Forgotten (Maran Thaan)

    Forgotten (Maran Thaan)

    Man has forgotten

    Ah man!


    Do you wish to turn human?

    Come unto the tree!

    Everyone is a Bodhi tree.

-    Excerpts from the poem in Tamil by Vairamuthu
-    Translated by Sujatha Vijayaraghavan

(The  song is an extract from the Pudu Kavithai “Marangalai Paduvane,” by the famous contemporary poet Vairamuthu. The poet describes the beauty and utility of trees and their role in the cycle of life. Man has forgotten the bounties he has received from trees and indulges in large scale felling and destruction of his benefactors. Every tree is a Bodhi tree, says the poet, punning on the word “Bodhi”, which as an adjective means “one who gives precepts.” The unequal lines of the poem have been set to Chatusra Eka talam, the easy flowing rhythmic cycle of four beats and the ragam chosen to bring out the meaning of the lines is Ritigowlai. The repetition of the word “Maranthaan,” which is a pun denoting the tree and man’s ingratitude, is sung like a chant.

This was the first Pudu Kavithai to be performed in BharataNatyam and was staged for the first time on 27th December, 1992. It was set to music by Sujatha, choreographed by Rhadha and danced by Sunanda for the  Nrityagitaanubhavam Prakriti
See clips from this performance at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrhgJytYXXQ

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