The Koel Song

This is “The Koel Song”. Various poets have sung on the koel. “The Koel Song” of Bharathiyar is one of his three major works. We all love to hear the sound of the koel. It is something familiar to us. There are not many of us, who would have actually seen the koel, because it tends to stay out of sight and is generally a shy bird. It is its nature that it would move to denser foliage and hide itself if it gets an inkling that it is being observed. But our poets have observed even such a shy bird quite carefully and have described it. In Sangam poetry, Poet Avvaiyar uses the beak of a koel to describe the jasmine bud. The male koel has a completely black body but its beak is white. This is what Avvaiyar noted and used in her poem. Here is my “koel song”.

— Perumal Murugan


Yonder coos a Koel
In a sweet voice again and again
Yonder coos a Koel
My soul goes searching there
It beseeches, and it implores
My soul goes searching there


Is it the rhapsody of nature?
Proffering itself thus
Is this its way to enchant?


Tucked away in the foliage of
Tall, high trees, hiding
A bewitching tune that
Fills the airwaves like
It is the Ambrosia,
It is the Panacea
Is it the voice of a Koel, or
Is it the voice of the All Knowing?
One wonders in awe
And with great grace