Tanka Poetry Analysis

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As Don Williams Jr. once said, “Death may indeed be final but the love we share while living is eternal.” Throughout time and history, generation after generation have trouble answering common and recurring questions pertaining life, death, and love. These recurring and troubling questions, known as universal questions, provoke deep thought and debate amongst cultures. While in today’s society many search for the answers to these questions on their computers, cell phones, or tablets, back in ancient societies, people would search for these answers in poems and literature. In ancient Chinese and Japanese culture, by searching in varying types of literature, one can clearly discover the answer to questions such as “What is important in life?”,…show more content…
A tanka poem by Ono Komachi, helps readers to clearly discover the nature of love. Ono Komachi’s tanka poem speaks of a dream the speaker has of a man. In the final lines of the poem, the speaker expresses her feelings towards this man. “Had I known it was a dream / I should not have wakened” (4-5). These lines evidently prove the speaker interprets the nature of love as rare and special. For she claims to value it so greatly, if she knew that she only met this man in her dream, she never would have woken up. She values the love in her dream so greatly, she would leave behind everything else she has in her life for it; therefore, through this brief poem, readers can conclude the nature of love feels grand, rare, and special. Another poem in which the nature of love proves discoverable is “Thick Grow the Rush Leaves” from The Book of Songs. The poem speaks of a girl searching for the one she loves. In each stanza, the speaker grows closer to the one she loves. In the first stanza the speakers says she travels up the stream to search for the one she loves “But the way was difficult and long” (6). However, even though the stream has a difficult and long path, the speaker does not even hesitate to continue to search for her loved one. From this, readers can determine, no matter how difficult the journey, love always proves worth it in the end. The final piece of ancient literature, another piece of tanka poetry, proves to help one discover the nature of love. This piece, by Ki Tsurayuki, also speaks of a difficult journey one takes for love. In the brief story told by Ki Tsurayuki, the speaker journeys through a cold winter night in order to visit the girl he loves. Despite the tale’s brevity, the message once again proves as clear as day: love prevails against all costs; no

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