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Spring In The Kokinshu Essay

1829 words - 7 pages

Seasons can convey a multitude of meanings. Though the Kokinshū consists of numerous sections, the seasonal sections are the best at conveying the power of human creativity. The seasons in poetry are used to show everything from the passage of time as well as evoke feelings such as loneliness and love. As shown in the spring sections of the Kokinshū, seasons are treated in poetry through their progression from one part of the season to another, seasonal imagery in describing the season, related emotional expressions, and the linking of human emotion to the natural surroundings.
For each seasonal section, there is a progression from beginning to end within the season. Each season is compiled in a progressive nature with poetry describing the beginning of a season coming before poetry for the end of the season. This is clear for spring, which starts with, “fallen snow [that] lingers on” and concludes with a poet lamenting that “spring should take its leave” (McCullough 14, 39). The imagery progresses from the end of winter, with snow still lingering around to when the signs of spring are disappearing. Although each poem alone does not show much in terms of the time of the year, when put into the context of other poems a timeline emerges from one season to the next. Each poem is linked to another poem when it comes to the entire anthology. By having each poem put into the context of another, a sense of organization emerges within each section. Every poem contributes to the meaning of a group of poems. The images used are meant to evoke a specific point in each season from the snow to the blossoms to the falling of the blossoms. Since each poem stands alone and has no true plot they lack the significance than if they were put into the context of other poems. Together the anthologized season creates a cohesive whole spanning the length of an entire season. Within each seasonal section, the imagery and feelings changes through each progressive poem. Each season has its own image that is commonly associated with it, such as snow for winter and cherry blossoms for spring. The images are essential to showing the progressive nature of the seasons within the Kokinshū. In this case, the poet notes that winter is on its way out and spring is arriving.
Each season has imagery that is commonly associated with it. Towards the beginning of the section images of winter still permeate the poetry. The remnants of winter show a gradual shift from season to season along with the gradual change in nature. The changing of the seasons is crucial to the imagery of the Kokinshū. Images are the main distinguishing features of how one season gradually becomes another. Images that are clearly winter such as the snow as combined with images that are clearly spring to show that the changing of the seasons is a gradual process. There are certain images that are unique to spring – such as that of the cherry blossoms. Other images associated with spring are birds and flowers....

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