The translator Sri Purnachandra Rao says " Karunasrii's poetry is highly sensuous, tender, beautiful, exhilerating and thrilling. The poet saw the "tears in things"; his soul throbbed with tenderness and tears, his heart exulted at the valiant and the glorious; his soul cried out agony at evil and injustice, his heart grieved with the underdog and sang with the fulfilled. Karuna is the soul of the poet. He believed in the essential humanity, in mercy that crowns the very Gods, that strengthens the voice of the prophets, sweetens the song of the poets; that conquers the tyrants and ennobles the lowly. Karunasrii is a romanticist, classicist, patriot, seer, humanist, and dreamer rolled in one."
cEtula'ramga ninnu poojimcukoraku
kODi kooyamganE mElukomTi nEnu;
gamgalO mungi dhouta valkalamu gaTTi
poolu konitEra narigiti pushpavaniki
THE FLORAL PLAINT (1)
Up at dawn as the cock crew
finishing ablutions in the Ganges
donning simple garb white and pure
I went to the garden to cull blossoms
to offer Thee, O Lord!
nE noka poolamokka kaDa nilci civa'luna kommavamci gO
ra'neDu namtalOna viru lanniyu ja'liga nOLLu vippi "ma'
pr'Namu tiituva'" yanucu ba'vurumannavi; krumgipOti; na'
ma'nasamam dedO taLuku mannadi pushpavila'pa ka'vyamai.
THE FLORAL PLAINT (2)
As I stood near a tree, bent a bough
down and proceeded to set my finger nail---
all floweres let out a cry in woeful
anguish; would you murder us all,
seemed they to ask.
I stood crest-fallen, when in my heart sensitive
there flashed a thought tender and poignant
taking this form of "floral plaint"
pushpa vila'pam (3)
talli yoDilOna talira'ku talpa mamdu
a'Dukonu mammulanu buTTalamdu cidimi
ammukomduve mOkshavittammu koraku!
hRudayamE lEni nii pooja lemdukOyi?
THE FLORAL PLAINT (3)
"We are but babes, tender and defenceless,
bounding and romping in our mother's lap--
this leafy arbour.
Do you pluck us to sell and barter in exchange
for God's Benediction"?
To what avail your worship?
pushpa vila'pam (4)
jaDamatula mEmu; ~na'navamtuDavu niivu;
budhdhi yunnadi; Ba'va samRuddhi galadu;
bamDaba'renaTOyi nii gumDeka'ya!
Sivunakai pooyadE na'lgu cinni poolu?
THE FLORAL PLAINT (4)
"We are ignorant; you are wise;
You can think and are discreet!
Do you have a heart that turned granite hard?
Doesn't it bloom a flower or two for your Lord?
pushpa vila'pam (5)
a'yuvu galgu na'lgu gaDiyal kanipemcina tiivatalli ja'
tiiyata diddi tiirtu mu; tadiiya karmmulalOna svEcCamai
nooyala loogucun muriyucumdumu; a'yuvu diirinamtanE
ha'yiga kannu moosedamu a'yama callani ka'livrELLapai.
THE FLORAL PLAINT (5)
"The few hours that are alloted to us,
we prosper to the immense pleasure
of our creeper-mother; and in her arms we sing
in joy celebrating our freedom absolute; and
when the destined hour approaches, we breathe our
last uncomplaining, and drop dead at our
mother's cool feet.
pushpa vila'pam (6)
ga'lini gouravimtumu sugamdhamu poosi; sama'Srayimcu BRum
ga'laku vimdu cEsedamu kammani tEnelu; mimmubOmTla nE
tra'laku ha'yigoortumu; svatamtrula mammula sva'rdhabuddhitO
t'Lumu trumpabOvakumu; talliki biDDaku vEru sEtuvE!
THE FLORAL PLAINT (6)
"We heartily play hosts to passing breezes
touching their bodies with our perfume delicate;
We offer nectar aplenty to the bees
that round us eagerly gather;
We present a spectacle pleasant to the eyes
of an aesthete like you.
Why do you rob us of our independence,
so pitilessly, O wretch ?
--You wish to sever the bond sweet
'twixt mother and child ?
pushpa vila'pam (7)
a'tmasuKammu kOsamayi anyula gomtulu kOsi teccu pu
Nya'tmuDa! niiku mOksha meTu labbunu? netturu cEtipooja vi
Sva'tmuDu sviikarimcune? cara'caravarti praBumDu ma' pavi
tra'tmala namdukODe! naDamamtrapu nii tagula'Ta mETikin?
THE FLORAL PLAINT (7)
"O ye virtuous, do you for your selfish
ends cut the throats of innocents?
And do you expect Salvation?
Does the Lord of Creation accept
the offering from your bloody hands?
Does not He take unto His lap
our simple souls? Do we need any
meddling mischief-monger's mediation?
pushpa vila'pam (8)
Uluda'ra'latO gomtu kuri bigimci
gumDelO numDi soodulu grucci koorci
muDucukomduru muccaTa muDula mammu
akaTa! dayalEniva'ru mii ya'Duva'ru
THE FLORAL PLAINT (8)
"They tie a silken string round our
fragile throats and stiffle us; they
pierce our pulsating hearts with callous needles
to weave a garland to deck their braids!
--Alack! How heartless these young women-folk!
pushpa vila'pam (9)
gumDetaDi lEka noonelO vamDi pimDi
attarulu cEsi ma' pEda netturulanu
kampu dEha'lapai guma'yimpu koraku
pulumukomduru hamta! mii kolamu va'ru.
THE FLORAL PLAINT (9)
"You squeeze our hearts dry of the sap
entire, cook it on flame, prepare
a fragrant essence out of our life-blood
and smear your stinking frame
with our life-breath, Ye selfish
murders, You and Your like !
pushpa vila'pam (10)
akkaTa! ha'yi mEmu mahisha'suru lemdaro na'lgu prakkalan
prakkala miida callukoni ma' pasimEnulu pa'Duka'LLatO
drokkucu dorli - dorli - marurO judya'nane va'Di vattalai
rekkalu ja'ripOn pariharimturu mammula pemTadibbapai.
THE FLORAL PLAINT (10)
There are epicures who, wanting to
squeeze and enjoy life to the full
sprinkle our deliciou bodies delicate thick
on their beds, roll on us luxuriously
like some swine wallowing in the mud,
crush and kill us under their ponderous
grossness ! And, on the morrow--
aye, the insult upon the injury--
they look down on our mortal remains,
our raped, torn, wilted, stinking bodies,
mock in derision, gather us callously
to throw us out on the dung-heap !
pushpa vila'pam (11)
ma' velalEni mugdhasukuma'ra sugamdha maramda ma'dhurii
jiivita mella miikayi tyajimci kRuSimci naSimcipOye; ma'
youvana mella kollagoni a' payi ciipurutODa cimmi ma
mma'vala pa'rabOturu gada'! naraja'tiki niiti yunnada' !
THE FLORAL PLAINT (11)
"Our priceless souls and lives lovely,
fragrant and delicate, are spent, wasted
and sacrificed for your sakes -- alas, to no avail
You loot our youthful essence rich
and, as though it were not enough,
sweep us with a broom harsh and
throw our carcass out in the dreary dust.
Say, do you men have any values ?
pushpa vila'pam (12)
buddha dEvuni BoomilO puTTina'vu
sahaja magu prEma niilOna caccenEmi?
amdamunu hatya cEseDi hamtakumDa!
mailapaDipOye nOyi! nii manuja janma.
THE FLORAL PLAINT (12)
"Weren't you born in the land of the Buddha?
Haven't you the love natural to all beings?
You murder and kill beauty for joy;
desecrated is your soul - beyond all redemption !
pushpa vila'pam (13)
pooja lEkunna ba'bu nii punne ma'ye!
kOyabOkumu ma' pEda kuttukalanu
akaTa! cEsEta mammula hatyacEsi
ba'pukonabOvu a' maha'Ba'gya mEmi?
THE FLORAL PLAINT (13)
"No loss if you do not worship;
cut not our defenceless throats innocent.
Alack! What earthly thing do you gain
committing such genocide?"
pushpa vila'pam (14)
iTlu pushpa'lu nannu ciiva'Tlu peTTi
naTluga'n - poolu kOya cEya'DalEdu;
Emi tOcaka dEvara keruka sEya
vaTTi cEtulatO iTu vaccina'nu.
THE FLORAL PLAINT (14)
So, my Lord, so did the flowers severely
chide me. And I have n't plucked a poor
flower, but come hither to give account
of what transpired at the Flora's bower !
The language that Karunasrii used in this poem is not pedantic but is full of that karuna - the feeling of compassion. It is hard for me to judge whether Sri Purnachandra Rao had done an exceptional job in bringing the meaning but the whole meaning with complete feeling of Karunasrii's poetry in his English translation. But needless to say, Sri Rao, is fortunate enough to even translate Karunasrii's poetry into English.
Finally Sri S. Purnachandra Rao adds "I could not dress Karunasrii's delicate poetry in the traditional trappings of color, cadence, rhyme, and rhythm. They were not only beyond me but my prime search was the poet's soul. How much I succeeded in my ernst, humble endeavour is for you to judge. The poet approved and I exult and bask in it. You are most welcome to step into this poetic arbour of Karunasrii...."