Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

I hear the wind

in the mountain trees

and the voices of the leaves

bloun through air

then let go, falling



Sōkonshū(Grass Roots). Shōtetsu, a Buddhist priest and leading tanka poet of the early Muromachi period, was born in the province of Bitchū, the son of the lord of Kōdoyama. When he was about 10, he and his parents moved to Kyoto. By his teen, he was participating in tanka workshops held by recognized poets in Kyoto. Though he later took monastic vows, he was a very active poet and critic, and took many renda poets, including Shinkei, under his wing. He is an excellent example of the many poet-priests of the Muromachi period. A prolific poet, he is said to have written 40,000 tanka. As this poem shows, his style, with its close attention to such subtle events as the far-off sound of the wind, was capable of creating deep overtones.



Kaze kikeba


mine no konoha no


nakazora ni


fuki suterarete


otsuru koegoe