Poetry Kaleidoscope: Guide to Poetry
Shichigon-zekku (七言絶句) is the
Japanese term for a poetry
verse form (often of Chinese origin) consisting of four
phrases each seven Chinese characters (kanji - 漢字) in length.
Shichigon-zekku are the most common form of classical
Chinese poems (kanshi
- 漢詩), and the standard form of
In composing Shichigon-zekku, the character of the phrases (zekku)
is important. The rule
is as follows:
- First phrase (kiku - 起句): Depiction of the
- Second phrase (shoku - 承句): Add further illustration and detail
to the kiku
- Third phrase (tenku - 転句): By changing the scene of action,
reveal the true
of the poem
- Fourth phrase (kekku - 結句): In assimilating the tenku draw
together and complete the poem
The Japanese terms mean literally: bringing into being; understanding;
changing and drawing together.
The example below illustrates a poem in Shichigon-zekku form:
This great peak above the clouds, where legendary wizards came to work
In the deep pools of whose caverns holy dragons have inhabited from old
When snow overwhelms, and smoke rises up like the hilt of a sword
It is as if a great white fan sits inverted, in the heavens above the
Author: Ishikawa Jozan (石川丈山), (1583～1672).
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