Tsurayuki wrote in the preface of the Kokinshū, Kanajō, that poetry was a blend and balance of kotoba (words), kokoro (heart, emotion) and sama (style). It is naturally a very suitable medium for expressing those very emotions that one may feel incapable of putting into words, those majestic or delicate or fleeting sceneries that one may feel even a picture could not capture the true essence of.
In 936 A.D., Tsurayuki wrote the Tosa Nikki (Tosa Diary), a record of his return to the capital after serving as the governor of Tosa. Under the guise of a lady attendant, he wrote of the journey’s hardships, and to fully capture the feelings of his fellow travelers, he recorded poems that they supposedly wrote whenever they were overwhelmed by the sorrow of Tsurayuki’s daughter who passed away while he was in Tosa, or saw a particularly moving scene. One such poem expressed the elegant confusion and anguish of one traveler who could not bear the pain of reme...
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Sargent, G. W. (Tr.) (1955). Tosa diary. In D. Keene (Ed.), Anthology of Japanese literature
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