From One of My Favorites


From One of My Favorites

Okay, you've already noticed that I tend to favor seventeenth century poetry--American or European. But another of my favorite schools of poetry is the imagist school, largely derived from the very compressed ultimately imagist poetry of China and Japan. So, without further ado, a tanka from Ogura Hyakunin Isshu or One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets (See the left-hand column for a link to the entire work.)

Ono no Komachi

Color of the flower
Has already faded away,
While in idle thoughts

My life passes vainly by,
As I watch the long rains fall.

The gentle melancholy of this particular tanka appeals to me. Many of these poems have references to places that must conjure images for the Japanese, but for Westerners they serve only to produce some distance. But here, there are no such references. This could occur on the slopes of Fujiyama, or in Indiana. The universalilty of the thought and experience causes this poem, among many others, to really speak to the human heart.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 28, 2002 9:21 AM.

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