Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

It’s the taste

of sorrel stalks

that I can’t forget

The sadness of things

when I was young

 

Yoshii Isamu

From Sake Hogai(In Praise of Sakē,1910).Tanka are often talked about in terms of how they “go down,” whether their kuchi atari, their feel on the palate, is “good” or “bad.” “Going down easily” is, contrary to what one might expect, not always a term of praise. Sometimes it is no more than a way of indirectly saying a poem is superficial. However, as a rule, the works of the best poets in the early period of the modern tanka “go down” easily. The problem bears thinking about even today. We have Hiroshi, Akiko, Bokusui, Yūgure, Takuboku, Hakushū. And this Isamu. The poem here goes down almost too easily, but he holds back at the right point.


すかんぽの

Sukanpo no



茎の味こそ

kuki no aji koso



忘られね

wasurarene



いとけなき日の

itokenaki hi no



ものの悲しみ

mono no kanashimi

吉井勇(よしい いさむ)

『酒ほがひ』(明四三)所収。歌についてよく「口当たり」がよいとか悪いとかいう。口当たりがよいというので褒めているのかと思えば、そうでもない。実は軽薄と言いたいのを粉飾しているにすぎない場合もある。しかし、近代短歌草創期のすぐれた歌人たちの作は、総じて口当たりがよかった。この問題は、今日でも考えるに値するだろう。寛、晶子、牧水、夕暮、啄木、白秋。中でもこの勇。口当たりがよすぎる感はあるが、歌の勘どころは押さえている。