io ni hita utsu
katami ni moru ya
aki no oyamada
|Both near and far
From huts the bird clappers sound;
I wonder do they ward together
The little mountain paddies at autumn time…
yamada no io ni
inaba zo hito wo
|When the wind does blow
To the mountain paddy huts
Comes the sound
Of rustling rice fronds; the folk within
Warding, wakeful, ‘til daybreak.
The Right find no fault with the Left’s poem this round. The Left wonder about the suitability of the phrase ‘folk within warding’ (hito wo moru), to which the Right respond that the expression carries the sense of wakefulness.
Shunzei’s judgement: the Left has the sound of bird clappers jointly guarding the fields, the Right, the sound of rice stirred by the autumn wind rousing folk in their huts – both poems display a particular skill in terms of form, but perhaps at the expense of feeling. Furthermore, I am unable to apprehend the Right’s ‘rice fronds; the folk within warding’. The Left wins, by a small margin.