Ten Styles of Tanka – Post 10 – January 29, 2016

rumbling silence
then Mother dances madly
buildings topple
new streets bloom as other’s die
mournful howling of lost dogs

© G.s.k. ‘16

10. Demon-quelling – onihishigitei (or kiratsu no tei), characterised by strong or even vulgar diction and terms

“Because its methods are at odds with the classical poetical values of beauty, elegance, and grace, Teika said the style to be “more difficult” and should be attempted only when the student has become proficient in the other methods. One of Teika’s examples is taken from the Man’yoshū, #4:503 which is a more violent version than a similar poem in the Shinkokinshū, #10:911:

kamikaze ya / Ise no hamaogi / orishikite / tabine ya suran / araki hamabe ni

divine winds
reeds on the Ise beach
are broken
to make a traveller’s bed
on this rough shore

The operative words to demonstrate the demon-quelling style are “divine winds” the breaking off of reeds, and the rough seacoast. Teika taught that even though the poet put these elements into a poem, they should be treated with sensibility and gentleness however, it seems this has been most easy to ignore. Yet in an exploration of current tanka examples, I found this style under-represented and in no way as violent as the ancient poems.”

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

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