Category Archives: Poetry Competition in Six Hundred Rounds

Love VIII: 6

Left (Tie)
いはざりき我身古屋の忍ぶ草思ひたがへて種を播けとは

iwazariki
wa ga mi furuya no
shinobugusa
omoitagaete
tane o make to wa
I did not tell you:
My aged home’s
Fond ferns
To think so lightly of
That you scatter seeds about!

Lord Sada’ie
1031

Right
ながめする心の根より生ひそめて軒の忍ぶは茂る成るべし

nagamesuru
kokoro no ne yori
oisomete
noki no shinobu wa
shigerunarubeshi
Consoled,
My heart’s depths
Have grown old, as
Beneath my eaves the ferns
Have grown thick, indeed.

Nobusada
1032

The Gentlemen of the Right state: we wonder about the appropriateness of sowing seeds beneath eaves? The Left, in appeal: why not compose a poem in this manner, given ‘even the grass seeds, forgotten’? The Left state: this seems little different from Toshiyori’s poem, ‘Beneath the eaves, my thoughts run wild / As the growing plants…’ (omoinoki yori ouru narikeri).

In judgement: both poems refer to ferns, and the conception of ‘my aged home’ (wa ga mi furuya no) and ‘my heart’s depths’ (kokoro no ne yori) both sound suitable. I make this a tie.

Love VIII: 5

Left
人待ちし庭の淺茅生茂りあひて心にならす道芝の露

hito machishi
niwa no asajū
shigeriaite
kokoro ni narasu
michishiba no tsuyu
Awaiting him,
The cogon-grass in my garden
Has grown lush, indeed;
And I have taken to my heart
The dew that falls upon my lawn!

A Servant Girl
1029

Right (Win)
秋風になびく淺茅の色よりもかはるは人の心なりけり

akikaze ni
nabiku asaji no
iro yori mo
kawaru wa hito no
kokoro narikeri
With the autumn wind
Waves the cogon grass,
Colours
Changing less than her
Heart’s passions…

Ietaka
1030

The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to mention. The Gentlemen of the Left state: the intial part of the Right’s poem is derived from an old poem, and so does the end!

In judgement: I wonder whether the cogon-grass (asajū), mentioned initially, is as clearly conceived as the ‘lawn’ (michishiba) mentioned at the end? The Right’s poem refers to ‘So full are my thoughts,  what am I to do? With the autumn wind’, but reverses the beginning and end of that poem; it is extremely old-fashioned in style, but pleasant as it is plainly intended to be understood as a variant of its model. Thus, the Right wins over the combination of ‘cogon-grass’ and ‘lawn’.

Love VIII: 4

Left (Tie)
ももよ草百夜までなど頼めけむかりそめ臥しの榻のはしがき

momoyogusa
momoyo made nado
tanomekemu
karisome fushi no
shiji no hashigaki
A hundred nights upon the grass:
After a hundred nights, how
Can I trust we’ll meet?
Fitfully pillowed on
The scratches on my shaft stand…

Kenshō
1027

Right
逢事はいつといぶきの嶺に生ふるさしも絶せぬ思ひなりけり

au koto wa
itsu to ibuki no
mine ni ouru
sashimo taesenu
omoi narikeri
When will our meeting
Come? On Ibuki
Peak grows
Moxa, thus, endlessly
Burning, as do my fires of love.

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress Household Office
1028

The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to mention. The Gentlemen of the Left state: it is difficult to grasp that there is nothing said from ‘when will it come? On Ibuki’ (itsu to ibuki). ‘Moza, thus’ (sashimo) does not fit with the end of the poem.

In judgement: I do wonder about the sound of beginning a poem with momoyogusa. Furthermore, originally, the ‘one hundred nights’ (momoyo) would be placed upon the shaft stand. ‘When on Ibuki grows moxa’ (itsu to ibuki no sashimo), too, just as with Inaba’s pines, places too much stress on the peak. The poems are of the same quality and tie.

Love VIII: 3

Left (Tie)
うち頼む人のけしきの秋風に心の底の萱が下折れ

uchitanomu
hito no keshiki no
akikaze ni
kokoro no soko no
kaya ga shitaore
I did rely on
Him, but now in his look, is
The autumn wind; in
The depths of my heart are
Broken, drooping fronds of silver grass…

Lord Ari’ie
1025

Right
あさましやなどか思のさしも草露も置きあへずはては燃ゆらん

asamashi ya
nado ka omoi no
sashimogusa
tsuyu mo okiaezu
hate wa moyuran
How strange it is!
Why is it that my love’s fires, like
Moxa,
Not completely covered by the dew
Will at the end burst into flame once more?

Jakuren
1026

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to indicate. The Left state: in the Later Collection of Gleanings there is a poem about Ibuki, which uses ‘burst into flame’ (moyu). We wonder about the suitability of using ‘burst into flame’ without also using Ibuki. The Right, in response: older poems used ‘burst entirely into flame’ (sashimoyu), and this composition is the same.

In judgement: I am not accustomed to hearing ‘the depths of my heart are silver grass’ (kokoro no soko no kaya) as in the Left’s poem. The image in the Right’s poem of moxa not completely covered with dew bursting into flame seems rather overblown. The strengths and weaknesses of the two poems are unclear, so the round should tie.

Love VIII: 2

Left (Win)
今はさはあはれと思へ菅の根の長き心の程は見つらん

ima wa sa wa
aware to omoe
suga no ne no
nagaki kokoro no
hodo wa mitsuran
Now, indeed, let you
Think fondly of me!
The grasses’ roots run
Long, my heart’s
Love will you see…

Lord Suetsune
1023

Right
世とゝもにかはくまもなき我袖や潮干もわかぬ浪の下草

yo to tomo ni
kawaku ma mo naki
wa ga sode ya
shioi mo wakanu
nami no shitagusa
With the passing time,
Not a moment dry
Are my sleeves;
Low tide does not reveal
The seaweed beneath the waves…

Lord Takanobu
1024

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to indicate. The Left state: the Right’s poem is clichéd.

In judgement: the Right, in addition to being clichéd, can say no more than that love means wet sleeves. The Left’s ‘grasses’ roots’ (suga no ne) is certainly better.

Love VIII: 1

Left (Win)
忘らるゝ人に軒端の忍ぶ草涙の雨ぞ露けかりける

wasuraruru
hito ni nokiba no
shinobugusa
namida no ame zo
tsuyukekarikeru
Forgotten by
Him, beneath my eaves
The ferns bring back memories;
A rain of tears
Leaves them dew-drenched.

Lord Kanemune
1021

Right
戀づまのやがて軒端になり行けばいとど忍ぶの草ぞ茂れる

koizuma no
yagate nokiba ni
nariyukeba
itodo shinobu no
kusa zo shigereru
My man is
Far away; beneath my eaves
Are the signs:
How many memories and
Ferns grow thickly…

Lord Tsune’ie
1022

Both Left and Right state: we find no faults to mention.

In judgement: both poems refer to ‘memory ferns’ (shinobugusa), and there is not a great deal of difference in quality between them, but the Left’s ‘rain of tears’ (namida no ame), with its association of dew, is slightly better than the Right’s ‘ferns grow thickly’ (kusa zo shigereru), and so should win.

Love VII: 30

Left (Win)
恋わたる夜はのさむしろ波かけてかくや待けん宇治の橋姫

koi wataru
yowa no samushiro
nami kakete
kaku ya machiken
uji no hashihime
Crossed in love
At night my mat of straw
Is washed by waves;
Is this how she waits,
The maid at Uji bridge.

A Servant Girl
1019

Right
いにしへの宇治の橋守身をつまば年経る恋を哀とも見よ

inishie no
uji no hashimori
mi o tsumaba
toshi furu koi o
aware tomo miyo
Ancient
Warden of Uji bridge,
If you pinch me,
How I have aged with love for you
Will you know, and pity me…

Jakuren
1020

Left and Right together state: we find no faults to mention.

In judgement: the style of both the Left’s ‘maid at Uji bridge’ (uji no hashihime) and the Right’s ‘Warden of Uji bridge’ (uji no hashimori) is pleasant, and the Left’s ‘Is this how she waits, the maid at Uji bridge’ (kaku ya machiken uji no hashihime) draws on the conception of a tale from long ago, and the configuration also seems deeply moving. Thus, the Left should win.

Love VII: 29

Left.
葛城や久米路の橋にあらねども絶えぬる中は渡る物かは

kazuragi ya
kumeji no hashi ni
aranedomo
taenuru naka wa
wataru mono ka wa
At Kazuragi
The bridge of Kumeji
It is not, yet
Can a relationship that’s done
Ever continue on?

Lord Suetsune
1017

Right (Win).
葛城や渡しもはてぬ岩橋も夜の契はありとこそ聞け

kazuragi ya
watashi mo hatenu
iwabashi mo
yoru no chigiri wa
ari to koso kike
At Kazuragi lies
The unfinished
Bridge of stone:
A vow at night
There was, I hear!

Ietaka
1018

Both Left and Right state: we find no faults to mention.

In judgement: both poems refer to ‘the bridge of Kazuragi, while the Left has ‘a relationship that’s done’ (taenuru naka). As the bridge, from the very beginning, was never finished, it is not appropriate to say that it is ‘done’. ‘A vow at night’ (yoru no chigiri) seems to be referring to Kodaigimi’s ‘cannot endure’ (taenubeshi). The Right has certainly matched the conception of the bridge. Thus, I make the Right the winner.

Love VII: 28

Left.
われが身や長柄の橋の橋柱恋に朽ちなん名をば残して

ware ga mi ya
nagara no hashi no
hashibashira
koi ni kuchinan
na o ba nokoshite
Is my body as
The broken bridge at Nagara’s
Bridge pillars?
Eaten away by love
Is all they’ll say when I am gone…

Lord Kanemune
1015

Right (Win).
崩れゆく板田の橋もさもあらばあれ我を恋ふべき妹ならばこそ

kuzureyuku
itada no hashi mo
sa mo araba
are ware o koubeki
imo naraba koso
Collapsing is
The bridge at Itada:
Should that be, then
Love for me from
My darling will do the same!

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress Household Office
1016

The Right state: clichéd from beginning to end. The Left state: the style of the Right’s poem is unattractive.

In judgement: the second and third lines are certainly old-fashioned. I also cannot call the poem tasteful, because the initial line of it is unattractive. The style of the Right’s poem is not particularly elegant, but the Left is old-fashioned, so the Right wins.

Love VII: 27

Left.
かくこそは長柄の橋も絶えしかど柱ばかりは名殘やはなき

kaku koso wa
nagara no hashi mo
taeshikado
hashira bakari wa
nagori ya wa naki
And so it is that
The bridge at Nagara
Has ceased to be, yet
Are there not even pillars
In remembrance of what’s gone?

Lord Ari’ie
1013

Right (Win).
今も猶長柄の橋は作りてんつれなき戀は跡だにもなし

ima mo nao
nagara no hashi wa
tsukuriten
tsurenaki koi wa
ato dani mo nashi
Even now is
The bridge at Nagara
Being built?
Of this cruel love
Not even a trace remains…

Nobusada
1014

The Right state: it is certainly possible to say that the ‘bridge at Nagara’ has ‘rotted’ (kutsu), but there are, we think, no other examples of it ‘ceasing’ (tayu). The Left state: we wonder about the appropriateness of saying ‘love not a trace’ (koi ni ato nashi).

In judgement: both poems refer to ‘the bridge at Nagara’ and, as has been mentioned by the Gentlemen of the Right in their criticism, the Left uses ‘has ceased to be, yet’ (taeshikado); there are many poems using ‘rotted’, because this is what happens to the pillars of bridges. After this bridge ceased to be, the pillars would still be rotting away. If you have the bridge ‘being built’ (tsukuru nari), why would you not then have it ‘ceasing’? That being said, I am only accustomed to hearing ‘bridge pillars’ (hashibashira), and having only ‘pillars’ (hashira) sounds completely lacking in logic. The Right’s poem uses ‘love not a trace’ (koi ato nashi): it is entirely natural for a variety of different things not to leave a trace. The current criticism must be due to there not being a prior example of this usage, but it is particularly difficult to say this about the initial section of the poem. The Right wins.