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

For Carlo, A Dear Friend

The first time I saw your eyes,
After her funeral
There was the void she’d left,
That dark cloud of grief,
Which we all said would pass
For we felt that,
All time heals sadness.

But, she was your sun,
Alas now set.
Months have  passed,
And you’ve become spent
No sun rises for you,
There is no light at dawn.

And your smile…
Which brightened our days
Is now darkend,
Like an unlit moon…
Your sun has gone,
Has risen no more.
Your smile has no light to give.

Now when we meet,
Each time you say sadly,
“My bride is dead.”
and then you repeat:
“They say the pain passes,
But it never goes away.”

My heart grows heavy,
For we rarely meet,
You are a ghost now,
Someone I cannot touch.
You my dearest friend,
Have entered the tomb,
With your dead bride’s corpse.

This was inspired of course by Carlo, but the first writing was for Trifextra yesterday.  I wrote this yesterday as well, but for the Poet’s Corner….

The First Time I Saw- Trifecta Challenge 100


The first time I saw,
Your eyes…
There was the void she’d left;
That dark cloud of grief,
Told me your Sun,
Now set,
Would ne’er rise at dawn.
Your smile…
Like a dead moon
Gives no light.


This is dedicated to a dear friend, who lost his wife some months ago and has since slowly gone down-hill in his grief, from one of the happiest men I’d ever met, he has withered to the shadow of who he was.

Written for Trifecta:  Trifextra100 Challenge:

“This week’s Trifextra challenge. This week we are asking you to count syllables. And words. It’s a lot of math for those of us who might be more accustomed to dealing with words, but we’re confident you can pull it off.

We are asking for a 33-word response to the following snippet:

The first time I saw. . .

Here’s the catch: all of your 33 words must be one syllable each. We’re going low-brow on your this week. Or not. Can you class it up under these restrictions? Give us your best.

To clarify, we are giving you 5 words. We want another 33 from you, for a grand total of 38.”