Ten Styles of Tanka – Post 4 – January 23, 2016

fallen willowold willow is gone
it can never be replaced
these empty tears
fall down my cheeks unchecked
remembering summer shade

© G.s.k. ‘16

4. Conviction of feeling – ushintei

This is Teika’s most famous poetical ideal; one that he most developed in his middle and later years. Over this time he came to give ushin two distinct senses. One, in the narrow sense of “deep feeling” as one of the ten styles and in the broader sense of “conviction of feeling” – the quality that must be part of every good poem. Teika felt this could not be an adopted “style” but could result only if the poet “approached the art with the utmost seriousness and concentration”. These strong words of stubborn and uncompromising demand were typical of Teika’s goal of the highest stand of artistic integrity.
Another interpretation of the style is that it uses a highly subjective sense in which the speaker’s feeling pervade the imagery and rhetoric of the poem. It is especially appropriate for poems expressing love or grief.

Given as example is this poem by Princess Shikishi, #9:1034 in the Shinkokinshū:

tama no o yo / taenaba taene / nagaraeba / shinoburu koto no / yowari mo zo suru

jewel of my soul
threaded on the string
that should break
how to endure these things
I am getting weaker

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #66 Teika’s Ten Tanka Techniques by Jane Reichhold

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