!! Open for your submissions next Sunday July 2nd at 7:00 PM (CET) !!
Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
Welcome at a new "weekend-meditation". This time I love to inspire you through the ancient Japanese poetry. Haiku is a very classical (and ancient) Japanese poetry form, but before haiku became renown in ancient Japan it was mostly the "waka" that was used as The poetry form. The "waka" is the pre-ancestor of what we now know as Tanka, a 5 lined Japanese poetry form following the syllables count 5-7-5-7-7. What we call syllabes however are "on" or "onji". These are the "sounds" of the Japanese language.
For this "Time Travel" episode I have chosen an anthology which was translated by William N. Porter back in 1909, the Hyakunin-isshu, A Hundred Verses From Old Japan. The Hyakunin-isshu is a collection of 100 specimens of Japanese Tanka poetry collected in the 13th Century C.E., with some of the poems dating back to the 7th Century. This edition was illustrated with Japanese woodblock prints of an unknown artist. I hope to share a few of these woodblock prints here too.
This woodblock print is titled "seashore" and was used as a kind of cover for this anthology. All the Tanka in the Hyakunin-isshu are on themes such as nature, the round of the seasons, the impermanence of life, and the vicissitudes of love. There are obvious Buddhist and Shinto influences throughout.
|Pheasant woodblock print (found on Pinterest)|
Upon the bridge.
In the Tanka the theme is the longest night (the winter solstice) and in the haiku, Buson refers to the longest day (the summer solstice). Both poems are beauties.
|Yamato Province is renown for its cherry blossoms|
fragile cherry blossom petals fall
it seems to snow
More from The Hyakunin-isshu? HERE