A HUNDRED VERSES FROM OLD JAPAN - 100 verses with notes from the Hyaku-nin-isshiu

'Single Verses by a Hundred People'
by Various Unknown

Publisher: Abela Publishing

Publication Date: May 01, 2017

ISBN: 9781907256196

Binding: Kobo eBook

Availability: eBook

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The Hyaku-nin-isshiu, or 'Single Verses by a Hundred People', were collected together in Japan during A.D. 1235. These have been penned in the Tanka style, which has five lines and thirty-one syllables, arranged 5-7-5-7-7 which is an unusual metre for Western ears. They range from about the year A.D. 670, and have been placed in approximate chronological order.

The Collection consists almost entirely of what the editor calls picture-poems and love-poems, intended to bring before the mind's eye some well-known scene in nature. It is marvellous what images are sketches in the mind’s eye within thirty-one syllables.
Each poem is accompanied by a pen and ink thumbnail sketches and explanatory notes (where they have been available). Some sketches show the cherry blossoms which are doomed to fall, the dewdrops scattered by the wind, the mournful cry of the wild deer on the mountains, the dying crimson of the fallen maple leaves, the weird sadness of the cuckoo singing in the moonlight, or the loneliness of the recluse in the mountain wilds. While those verses which appear to be of a more cheerful type are rather of the nature of the 'Japanese smile', described by Lafcadio Hearn as a facial mask adopted to hide the real feelings.

Japanese poetry differs very largely from anything we are used to in the West. It has very little rhyme or alliteration, and little, if any, rhythm, as we understand it.

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