Autumn III: 20



iro kawaru
oshi no kegoromo
kesa mizu wa
furu tomo shiraji
aki no tsuyujimo
Colours changing on
The mandarin duckdown:
If I see it not this morning,
I’ll not know that has fallen:
Autumn’s frosty dew!





shimo sayuru
yomogi ga shita no
koe mo kareno ni
nari ya shinuran
Frozen by frost,
Beneath the tangled mugwort
Has the cricket’s
Chirp wearied as the withered fields

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right say, ‘It sounds as if the Left cannot see frost, unless it’s on a mandarin duck’s down!’
The Left respond, ‘There is the poem ‘the down-clad ducks come to my mind’ (kamo no uwage o omoi koso yare). If one composes a poem about one thing, that’s what one is composing about. As for what the Right have to say in their poem, if one is listening to a cricket’s chirp, how can it be withering away? Dubious! [fushin]’

Shunzei’s judgement: I must say I am doubtful myself about saying frosty dewfall changes the colour of ‘mandarin duckdown’ (oshi no kegoromo). In the Right’s poem, saying, ‘the cricket’s chirp’ (kirigirisu no koe) ‘the withered fields become’ (kareno ni nari ya shinuran) sounds as if one cannot hear it at all. The Left’s use of ‘dew’ (tsuyu), too, seems pointless. The Right has an elegant [yū naru] initial section, but the diction in the final section is dubious [shūku no kotoba fushin ni kikoyu]. I make the round a tie.

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