Blogging, Books, Learning, Poetry

Admiring Avvaiyar(s): For All Each One Alone Was

As April begins, there is nothing foolish about this first day of April’s post; or rather, nothing foolish about the featured subjects at all. This one is all about admiring Avvaiyar(s), in the plural. Read on to learn more about this revered Tamil poetess (actually poetesses, since there were at at least three women who were called by this honorific ‘Avvaiyar’ over the ages)

For each A to Z post, I will be featuring a person (via a poem) and a book (related to poetry in some way) from the letter of the day. Today’s person(s) is Avvaiyar (from Tamil history) and the book is Alone by Megan Freeman (middle-grade novel-in-verse).

And since it is the 1st Saturday of the month, I also am participating in the very cool Six Degrees of Satisfaction meme (adding on this section later since I missed doing it earlier).

This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support. Please see the full disclosure for more information. I only recommend products I definitely would (or have already) use myself

My Poetic Ode: Admiring Avvaiyar

Admiring Avvaiyar

Avvaiyar, of many forms
and so many words
Each one brilliant in her own way
Each one revered till today.

Avvaiyar I is legendary!
Conversing with Gods on ‘om’ and more,
like it was something ordinary.
So goes the ancient lore
that when Lord Muruga asked her,
“Avvai, Can you tell me what is sweeter?”
She replied thus, “O Muruga, in time alone
is sweetness for sure, and sweeter is devotion.
But the sweetest of all, I find,
is the company of the enlightened.”

King Adhiyamaan of the Sangam era,
revered Avvaiyaar the second to a great degree..
so much that he bestowed upon her a
fruit so rare, a fruit with the power of longevity.
The king’s trust in Avvai was strong..
When murmurs of war were heard before long,
Avvai, as emissary to King Adhiyamaan
reached the fort of neighbor Thondaimaan,
who welcomed Avvai with lots of zeal,
and showed off with pride his arsenal!
Avvai, weaving words with subtle sarcasm,
Soon made that king see that war would be dumb..
And thus this cool poetess averted war,
adding cooler stories to Avvai’s lore!

Then there was Avvairar three
Who wrote the Aathichoodi,
a series of quotes one line each
alphabetically arranged to teach
letters and everyday morals, you see
Thus making this Avvai too legendary

Each Avvai’s words are plain yet true
Giving everyday wisdom to me and you..
Her words have truly endured
Having a forever allure
And children even today,
they learn with Avvai..
as they work, play,
ask how, when, where, and why…

Avvai showed that a woman and her wits
are so formidable they can make enemies quit..
Avvai was a original thinking machine
Whose mind was sharp, so very keen..
that she seemed to know it all,
about the hollow of the earth,
and the story of the sun….

At that esteemed center for space,
Avvai’s words do powerfully grace
These are what your eyes will view
“Katradhu kaimann alavu,
kalladu ulagaalvu”
teaching something both simple and true…
What this words mean is written below
(Slightly altered to go with the flow)
“What we already know
is but a handful of sand,
What we are yet to know
is the whole rest of the land.”

~ Vidya Tiru @ LadyInReadWrites

NaPoWriMo Prompt for April 1st and My Twist on it

Today’s prompt from the NaPoWriMo team:

Here’s our own prompt (optional, as always) for the first day of Na/GloPoWriMo. They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but they never said you can’t try to write a poem based on a book cover — and that’s your challenge for today! Take a look through Public Domain Review’s article on “The Art of Book Covers.” Some of the featured covers are beautiful. Some are distressing. Some are just plain weird (I’m looking at you, “Mr Sweet Potatoes”). With any luck, one or more of these will catch your fancy, and open your mind to some poetic insights.

I decided to use some of the titles on the book covers directly in my poem about the Avvaiyars – the sixth stanza in my poem has the selected titles in bold letters

Admiring Avvaiyar: If You Want to Learn More

Sources, References, and Further Reading

And the ‘A’ Book: Alone

Alone by Megan E Freeman (10 – 12 years, and up | Novels in Verse)

Description: Perfect for fans of Hatchet and the I Survived series, this harrowing middle grade debut novel-in-verse from a Pushcart Prize–nominated poet tells the story of a young girl who wakes up one day to find herself utterly alone in her small Colorado town.

My Quick Thoughts: An adventurous, beautiful, and compelling page-turner of a read. Reminded me of a few other loved books and movies/shows, including May B, Where the Crawdads Sing (mixed feelings for this one, but…), and this adorable Netflix show – Sweet Tooth (not sure why I thought of this, but I did.. sadly, there seems to be no second season in sight..)

Six Degrees of Separation: Born to Run and Then…

 Back participating in the really cool six degrees of separation bookish meme. The book that starts it off this month is Born to Run

The Pairs

Born to Run –> It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen –> It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Adapted for Young Readers) by Trevor Noah

The link: Born and a celebrity memoir. I have not read Born to Run though I had planned to ages ago.. Maybe this is my reminder to go pick it up for myself. My review for Born a Crime is here.

Born a Crime –> When Stars are Scattered

Born a Crime –> When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed with art by Jamieson and Iman Geddy

The link: Africa to America and once again, both are memoirs. When Stars are Scattered is easily one of my favorite graphic novels of all time.

When Stars are Scattered –> The Fault in Our Stars

When Stars are Scattered –> The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The link: stars. I admit I wept noisy tears when I read The Fault in Our Stars, and mention that here earlier in my blog.

The Fault in Our Stars –> When Breath Becomes Air

The Fault in Our Stars –> When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

The link: cancer. When Breath Becomes Air is one other book I failed to review but one that has made it to my-favorites-list since I read it.

When Breath Becomes Air –> The Tennis Partner

When Breath Becomes Air –> The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese

The link: Abraham Verghese. Verghese wrote the foreword for When Breath Becomes Air. I now have his upcoming fictional novel Covenant of Water on my Netgalley shelf waiting to be read. But the book that I am linking up here is Verghese’s non-fiction book The Tennis Partner (I am yet to read this one but have it on hold at my library). Note: Verghese’s Cutting for Stone wowed me when I read it, and since then I have been waiting for another fictional book from him (with Covenant, the wait ends!!)

The Tennis Partner –> Playing to Win

The Tennis Partner –> Playing to Win: How Althea Gibson Broke Barriers and Changed Tennis Forever by Karen Deans and illustrated by Elbrite Brown

The link: tennis. Playing to Win is a picture book biography of Althea Gibson and among the books that tells me why I love picture books so much. They introduce me to people I would never have learned about if not for these books, and do so concisely!

Closing the Circle

I guess if I wanted to, I could close the circle and link Playing to Win and Born to Run for similar sounding titles, ‘xyz’ to ‘xyz’

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, so begins this month long journey… of challenging myself with poetry… with people I want to learn more of and share with you.. and books I read both fictional and true…Somedays will bring something more, I only hope not to bore!

Linking up to BlogChatterA2ZBlogging from A-to-Z April ChallengeNaPoWriMo, and the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Image of Avvaiyar's statue with pin title: Admiring Avvaiyar(s): For All Each One Alone Was

18 thoughts on “Admiring Avvaiyar(s): For All Each One Alone Was

  1. Loved the ode to Avvaiyar(s), especially these two lines: Avvai showed that a woman and her wits
    are so formidable they can make enemies quit..They sum up everything about Avvai.

  2. I just read your blog post about Avvaiyar and I was blown away by your writing. Your poem is beautiful and moving, and it really captures the essence of Avvaiyar’s wisdom and wit. I also appreciate the way you wove Avvaiyar’s story into your own, and the way you used your own experiences to connect with her words.

    I especially loved the line, “Avvai showed that a woman and her wits are so formidable they can make enemies quit.” It’s such a powerful statement, and it’s so true. Avvaiyar was a force to be reckoned with, and she used her words to make a difference in the world.

    Thank you for sharing your poem and your story with us. I can’t wait to read more of your work in the future.

  3. Great poem! It is so true about how much we know vs. how much we have yet to know. I feel that, the more I learn, the more I realize that I don’t know. As a journalist, I have to write about different things each week and, sometimes, all of those topics that I need to learn makes me feel as if my brain is going to shatter! But it’s good to learn and to get out of my comfort zone. Yet, what I know is still very, very tiny. And that’s all right.

  4. I am in awe of your talent! What an amazing poem!! And that middle school book sounds interesting. I think I would be quite apprehensive about it if I were actually in middle school, though, so props to the kids who read and love it. Great to see you again, Vidya, and I am looking forward to your posts.

  5. I liked your poem, learning more about those poetesses and I ordered alone from my local libray. They alone are going to loan me a copy of alone. My son read Hatchet in 6th grade and I taught that book to 6th graders earlier this year when I was doing a long-term sub assignment. I look forward to a poetic rendering of a similar subject.

  6. I loved learning about the Avvaiyars through your post! It’s great to showcase the work of talented female poets from history. Also, thank you for including a book recommendation related to poetry. I’m excited to check it out!

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