All posts by temca

Love IX: 20

Left (Win)
夢絶えて返すかひなきさ夜衣うらみばかりを重ねつるかな

yume taete
kaesu kainaki
sayogoromo
urami bakari o
kasaneteuru kana
My dreams have ceased, and
Pointless, it is to reverse
My night robe –
Resentment is all the
Lies upon me…

Lord Ari’ie
1119

Right
寝る人の夢は幾度覚めぬらん返すかひなきさ夜衣かな

neru hito no
yume wa ikutabi
samenuran
kaesu kainaki
sayogoromo kana
That sleeper has from
Dreams, how many times
Awakened?
Pointlessly reversed is
My night robe!

Nobusada
1120

Both Gentlemen state there are no faults to mention.

In judgement: both Left and Right use a ‘pointlessly reversed night robe’ (kaesu kainaki sayogoromo), but I wonder about the impression of the Right’s ‘sleeper’ (neru hito no). The Left, from the initial ‘my dreams have ceased’ (yume taete) to the concluding section sounds fine. Thus, I must make the Left the winner.

Love IX: 19

Left
戀衣いつか干るべき河社しるしも浪にいとゞしほれて

koigoromo
itsuka hirubeki
kawa yashiro
shirushi mo nami ni
itodo shiorete
My clothes of love,
When might they dry?
A river shrine
Has had no effect – the waves
Dampen them all the more…

Kenshō
1117

Right (Win)
いかで猶夜半の衣を返しても重ねしほどの夢をだに見ん

ikade nao
yowa no koromo o
kaeshitemo
kasaneshi hodo no
yume o dani min
What to do? Again
My night time garb
Inside out I turn –
As many layers
As dreams, if only I would see…

Takanobu
1118

The Right state: there are a number of different theories about the source poem ‘stems of bamboo wave freely the clothes I’d dry’ (shino ni orihae hosu koromo), so how should the allusion here be correctly understood? In response: this refers to a summer performance of sacred music and dance. In this, sprigs of sakaki are placed in clear water, and bamboo stems are hung from the shelf as offerings. This is the river shrine (kawa yashiro). It appears in the records about sacred music in summer. Standard sacred music is performed to pray to the gods. Thus, if one is made to bear the weight of something one has not done, the feeling is close to the conception of damp clothes, is it not? And this is associated with the clothes of lovers that will not dry. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.

In judgement:  the Left’s poem seems to be more about a ‘river shrine’ than ‘lovers’ clothing’ (koigoromo). While it is not entirely clear, the Left and Right’s criticism and response, are certainly unusual. There are two poems which are possible as sources for this, both of which appear in Tsurayuki’s Collection. These are: ‘At a river shrine / Stems of bamboo wave freely / The clothes I’d dry / How should I do so? / Seven days still damp…’  and:

行く水のうへにいはへる河社河浪高くあそぶなるかな

yuku mizu no
ue ni iwaeru
kawa yashiro
kawa nami takaku
asobunaru kana
The waters run, and
Above them in celebration is
A river shrine;
The river’s waves rise high,
Taking pleasure in their play!

This latter is a poem from a folding screen with pictures of each of the moons of the year, painted in the Tenryaku Era. Moreover, in a work by Lord Toshiyori, he says, ‘There is no one today who knows what a “river shrine” is. All we can do now is guess. So people say that it was a shrine on top of the water, where sacred music was performed in summer. The latter poem certainly does not seem to have this meaning. The former makes no mention of sacred music, and simply talks of clothing one has wanted to dry for a long time not drying.’ In addition, I have questioned a member of a household familiar with sacred music about this matter, and been told, ‘Where summer sacred music is concerned, there is a particular way of it. It is definitely absent from the records.’ Furthermore, Toshiyori played the double-reed flute. He would clearly have known all about sacred music, and around this time wrote, ‘first of all, there is no one who knows of this,’ and yet the Left’s response simply states, ‘it appears in the records about sacred music.’ This is something which requires greater proof. If the gentleman of the Left is able to provide some now, this would be a fine thing for the Way of Music! These, in brief, are my thoughts on this matter and, of course, the Left’s response.

First, it is a mistake to say that the river shrine is necessarily connected with summer sacred music. Summer sacred music is just what it sounds like: in summer, sacred music is performed, but not in any fixed way. However, here summer sacred music is done before a river shrine. Kawa yashiro shino ni is an old term for widely or ordinarily. It appears to have been used this way in the Collection of a Myriad Leaves. Orihaete has the same meaning. In the phrase ‘drying a robe / seven days undrying’ (hosu koromo / nanoka hizu) seven, or eight, days is simply a poetic convention for conveying that something was not dry after a long time. The ‘robe’ is not really a piece of clothing, but something which resembles it, and which is not dry. Ise said of the so-called Ryūmon Waterfall, ‘So why should the mountain’s princess rinse her cloth’ (nani yama hime no nuno sarasuramu) and also there are expressions such as ‘Nunohiki Falls’. Thus we have the Left’s argument for the summer sacred music platform, and then Lord Toshiyori’s writings; further, on the term shino ‘bamboo hung from the shelf as an offering to the gods’ and ‘clothing has the conception of damp clothing’. This is a remarkable way of interpreting the poem, indeed! The only way to settle the matter would be with the presentation of definite proof. So, this is certainly something which His Grace should request for review. In short, the Left’s poem, beginning with the idea that lovers’ clothing is to pray at a river shrine, and then saying ‘it has no effect’ (shirushi mo nami ni) seems like everlasting bitterness. The Right’s poem says ‘my night time garb inside out I turn’ (yowa no koromo o kaeshitemo), which is quite ordinary. In the absence of definite proof for the Left’s contentions, the Right must win.

KKS XIX: 1004

An ancient-styled poem to supplement a long poem.

君が世に相坂山の岩清水木隠れたりと思ける哉

kimi ga yo ni
aFusakayama no
iFasimidu
kogakuretari to
omoFikeru kana
Your Majesty’s reign
Is welcome so, as on the mount of Meeting Hill,
Spring water from the crags
Is hidden in the trees, thus
I am I sunk in thought!

Mibu no Tadamine

KKS I: 12

A poem from the Poetry Competition held in the reign of the Kanpyō Empress.

谷風にとくる氷のひまごとに打いづる波や春のはつ花

tanikaze ni
tokuru koFori no
Fimagoto ni
uti’iduru nami ya
Faru no FatuFana
In the valley’s breezes
Does melt the ice, and
From every crack
Do burst waves – are these
The first blooms of spring?

Minamoto no Masazumi
源当純

Love IX: 18

Left
いとはれて胸やすからぬ思をば人の上にぞ書きうつしつる

itowarete
mune yasukaranu
omoi o ba
hito no ue ni zo
kakiutsushitsuru
Being despised
And my unquiet heart
Filled with feelings
Upon her
I paint them out!

Kenshō
1115

Right (Win)
いかにせん絵にかく妹にあらねどもまこと少き人心かな

ika ni sen
e ni kaku imo ni
aranedomo
makoto sukunaki
hitogokoro kana
What am I to do?
A lady painted in a picture
She is not, yet
How lacking are
Her feelings!

Nobusada
1116

The Right state: what is the Left’s poem about? In appeal: it reflects Changkang, who, feeling a woman living next door was beautiful, painted her and was then able to meet her. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.

In judgement: I, too, was unsure of the meaning of ‘my unquiet heart filled with feelings upon her’ (mune yasukaranu omoi woba hito no ue ni zo), and after reading the Left’s response, I am still unclear. In general, in these cases it is customary to cite the source of such things, and to hear of such wide reading is interesting indeed, but this is simply, ‘it reflects Changkang, who, feeling a woman living next door was beautiful, painted her and was then able to meet her’, so it would be difficult to locate within the usual Three Histories; furthermore, I have no recollection of a person named in this Chinese manner, and so an ignorant old man like myself can only ask, who is this Nagayasu? More importantly, though, I do not feel the conception of this poem is particularly well-matched to the topic. The Right’s ‘a lady painted in a picture’ (e ni kaku imo) is a little over-explicit, but ‘how lacking are’ (makoto sukunaki) would seem to be in the style of the Kazan Archbishop, and as I feel this is easier to understand than Nagayasu, I make the Right the winner.

Love IX: 17

Left (Tie)
ます鏡うつしかへけむ姿ゆへ影絶えはてし契をぞ知る

masukagami
utsushikaekemu
sugata yue
kage taehateshi
chigiri o zo shiru
A clear glass
Will reflect back
My true face, yet
A form fixed forever
Reveals his my vow to me…

A Servant Girl
1113

Right
戀妻に似てや書らん見つるより絵にも心をうつしつる哉

koizuma ni
nite ya kakuran
mitsuru yori
e ni mo kokoro o
utsushitsuru kana
My beloved wife:
Does this so resemble her, that at
The mere sight of
The painting, my heart
Does move?

Lord Tsune’ie
1114

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults. The Left state: the Right’s poems contains a fault, does it not?

In judgement: What are we to make of the Left’s ‘In a clear glass my ever-changing reflected’ (masukagami utsushikaekemu)? While I have the feeling that there is a source for this poem, this aged official is completely unable to grasp it what it might be. It is not the case that the poem is lacking in an elegant style. The Gentlemen of the Left have commented on the existence of a fault in the Right’s poem. Perhaps the two cranes (tsuru)? This type of issue relating to a poem’s formal diction does not seem that serious to me. However, saying ‘does this so resemble her, that at’ (nite ya kakuran) is insufficient in terms of expression. The Left’s ‘clear glass’ would win, if its source were clear, but in its absence, it is difficult to make it the winner.

Love IX: 16

Left (Tie)
人しれずつくす心はかひぞなきこや絵にかける姿なるらむ

hito shirezu
tsukusu kokoro wa
kai zo naki
ko ya e ni kakeru
sugata naruramu
Unknown to all
Exhausting my heart
Is so pointless, for
This is but a painted picture
Of her…

Lord Suetsune
1111

Right
いざさらばつれなき人を絵にかきて見てだに恋のなぐさめにせん

iza saraba
tsurenaki hito o
e ni kakite
mite dani koi no
nagusame ni sen
So, then, so be it!
Of that cruel one
I’ll paint a picture, and
Just gazing at it will love’s
Pain ease…

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office
1112

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults. The Left state: the Right’s poem is colloquial.

In judgement: the Left, with ‘this is but a painted picture’ (koya e ni kakeru), and the Right, with ‘so, then, so be it!’ (iza saraba), are of similar styles.

Love IX: 15

Left (Win)
思あまり絵にかきとめてなぐさむる妹が上にも涙落ちけり

omoi amari
e ni kakitomete
nagusamuru
imo ta ue ni mo
namida ochikeri
Too much in love
I paint a picture for
Consolation, but
Upon my darling
Tears fall…

Lord Kanemune
1109

Right
かきとめて変らぬ色もをみなへしあはれと見れば露ぞこぼるる

kakitomete
kawaranu iro mo
ominaeshi
aware to mireba
tsuyu zo koboruru
Painted in
Changeless hues is my love –
A maidenflower
I glimpse in sorrow,
Drenched with dew…

Ietaka
1110

The Right state: the Left’s poem certainly has no faults. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no conception of Love.

In judgement: both Gentlemen’s pictures are ‘painted’ (kakitomete), with the Left then using ‘upon my darling’ (imo ga ue ni mo), which certainly has a conception of love. The Right simply draws a picture of a maidenflower and drenches it with dew, so it does not seem as if he is being moved by the sight of a person. Thus, again, the Left seems the superior poem.

Love IX: 14

Left (Win)
今さらにたれに心をうつうつすらむ我とすみ絵はかき絶えにけり

ima sara ni
tare ni kokoro o
utsusuramu
ware to sumi e wa
kakitaenikeri
Now, once again,
To whom will his heart
Shift? His reflection in
A drawing of ink, is all that’s left
Drawn, now he no longer lives with me…

Lord Ari’ie
1107

Right
跡もなく色になり行言の葉やすみ絵ををとむる木立成らん

ato mo naku
iro ni nariyuki
koto no ha ya
sumi e o tomuru
kodachi naruran
No lines remain,
All is turned to colour;
Will his leaves of words
Remain here at my home, as an ink
Sketch of a grove?

Lord Takanobu
1108

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults in particular. The Left state: why would you say that an ink drawing that remains ‘leaves no trace’? We would have preferred it had it been ‘colours most fair’ (iro masaru).

In judgement: both Left and Right have the conception of ‘ink drawings’ (sumie) and, when viewed together, I do not feel that they show much promise, but the Right, beginning with ‘no lines remain’ (ato mo naku) which I do not feel is in tune with the latter part of the poem, in addition, then concludes with ‘sketch of a grove’ (kodachi naruran) which is undesirable. The Left’s ‘a drawing of ink, is all that’s left’ (ware to sumi e wa) is a metaphorical expression which at least strives at charm. Thus, I must say that the Left is superior.

Love IX: 13

Left (Win)
主やたれ見ぬ世の色を写しをく筆のすさびにうかぶ面影

nushi ya tare
minu yo no iro o
utsushioku
fude no susabi ni
ukabu omokage
Who painted you?
Unseen in this present world, hues,
Reflected by
A comforting brush,
Bring her visage before me…

Lord Sada’ie
1105

Right
水茎の跡に堰きをく瀧津瀬をまことに落とすわが涙かな

mizukuki no
ato ni sekioku
taki tsu se o
makoto ni otosu
wa ga namida kana
Faint brush-strokes
Traces place a barrier, but
A cataract in torrents
Truly drops –
My tears…

Jakuren
1106

The Right state: the Left’s poem is rather casual about the person whom he loves. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults we can identify.

In judgement: the Gentlemen of the Right have stated that the Left seems somewhat blasé about the object of his affections, and this is certainly true. The Right’s poem, though, says that the poet is looking at a painting on something like a folding screen, where a waterfall is depicted, and he weeps in reality – this seems like he was simply moved by the painting. I feel that there is a stronger conception of love in seeing a painting and fondly recalling the face of one now long gone, than there is in being moved by the sight of a mountain stream.