Category Archives: Poetry Competition in Six Hundred Rounds

Love VII: 20

Left (Tie).
身に堪へぬ思ひを須磨の関据ゑて人に心をなどとどむらん

mi ni taenu
omoi o suma no
seki suete
hito ni kokoro ni
nado todomuran
Unable to endure
This love; at Suma
By the barrier am I placed;
Within my heart why
Does she remain so firmly?

Lord Sada’ie
999

Right.
逢坂の関のこなたに名をとめてこれより過ぐる嘆せよとや

ausaka no
seki no konata ni
na o tomete
kore yori suguru
nageki seyo to ya
On Meeting Hill
Barrier’s inner side
Must I stay, they say;
Ever pass your days
In grief! Is that your only message?

Lord Takanobu
1000

The Right state: ‘This love; at Suma’ (omoi o suma) sounds antiquated. In addition, how can one be placed by the barrier? The Left state: in the Right’s poem what is the ‘passing grief’ (suguru nageki)?

In judgement: the Gentlemen of the Right’s criticism of wondering ‘how one can be placed by the barrier’ suggests they have never been installed as Barrier Wardens! Both ‘at Suma by the barrier’ and ‘Meeting Hill Barrier’ are of the same quality. The round should tie.

Love VII: 19

Left.
逢ふ事は苗代水を引き止めて通しはてぬや小山田の關

au koto wa
nawashiro mizu o
hikitomete
tōshihatenu ya
oyamada no seki
Can a meeting, like
The waters round the rice seedlings
Be stopped
In their endless flow
Past the Oyamada Barrier?

Kenshō
997

Right (Win).
衣手は清見が關にあらねども絶ゆるよもなき涙也けり

koromode wa
kiyomi ga seki ni
aranedomo
tayuru yo mo naki
namida narikeri
My sleeves as
The Barrier at Kiyomi
Are not, yet
Without cease
Are my tears…

Lord Tsune’ie.
998

The Right state: we are unfamiliar with the expression ‘Oyamada Barrier’ (oyamada no seki). The Left state: it sounds as if it is tears that are ceaseless at the Barrier at Kiyomi.

In judgement: the Left’s poem is stylistically tasteful, but with only ‘can a meeting, like the waters round the rice seedlings’ (au koto wa nawashiro mizu) the conception of love is weak is it not? The Right’s poem metaphorically has tears ceaseless at the Barrier at Kiyomi, and with the ta present, I accept the Left’s point to a certain extent, but this type of thing is not unusual in metaphorical poems.  In addition, there is little reason to imagine the waters round the rice-seedlings being blocked. As it has a stronger focus on Love, the Right wins.

Love VII: 18

Left (Tie).
吉野河はやき流れを堰く岩のつれなき中に身を砕くらん

yoshinogawa
hayaki nagare o
seku iwa no
tsurenaki naka ni
mi o kudakuran
The River Yoshino’s
Swift flow is
Dammed by boulders;
With the chilling of our bond
It seems my very self will shatter…

A Servant Girl
995

Right.
ありとても逢はぬためしの名取川朽ちだにはてよ瀬せの埋れ木

ari tote mo
awanu tameshi no
natorigawa
kuchi dani hateyo
sese no mumoregi
We live, yet
Cannot meet – our situation
A source of rumours; in the River Natori
Let all rot away with
The drowned trees in the rapids!

Jakuren.
996

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

In judgement: both poems are extremely good. This is a tie of quality.

Love VII: 17

Left.
人心さのみはいかゞ水無瀬川我には淺き契なるらむ

hito kokoro
sa nomi wa ikaga
minasegawa
ware ni wa asaki
chigiri naruramu
Her heart
Is just like it; why as
The Minase River
So shallow for me
Should her feelings be?

Lord Suetsune
993

Right (Win).
いかにして影をも見まし澤田河袖つくほどの契りなりとも

ika ni shite
kage o mo mimashi
sawadagawa
sode tsuku hodo no
chigiri naritomo
No matter what
I would see her face in
The River Sawada,
Even if my sleeves get drenched
By my feelings…

Ietaka.
994

Both Left and Right together state: there are no faults to indicate.

In judgement: using ‘the Minase River’ (minasegawa) preceded by ‘is just like it; why as’ (sa nomi wa ika ni) sounds charming in style, but ‘should her feelings be?’ (chigiri naruramu) means the end of the poem is a bit dry! ‘The River Sawada, even if my sleeves get drenched’ (sawadagawa sode tsuku hodo no) sounds pleasant. Thus, the Right wins.

Love VII: 16

Left.
つれなしと人をぞさらに思ひ河逢ふ瀬を知らぬ身を恨ても

tsurenashi to
hito o zo sara ni
omoigawa
ause o shiranu
mi o uramitemo
How cruel
She is, I ever feel,
My thoughts a river;
No rushed meetings between us –
I hate myself for that, and yet…

Lord Kanemune
991

Right (Win).
遥なる程とぞ聞し衣川かた敷く袖の名こそ有けれ

harukanaru
hodo to zo kikishi
koromogawa
katashiku sode no
na koso arikere
Far, far away
Lies, I have heard,
The River Robe:
For my single spread sleeve
How apt that name is!

Lord Takanobu
992

The Right state: we find the Left’s poem unconvincing. The Left state: the Right’s poem lacks any faults.

In judgement: in the Left’s poem, ‘my thoughts a river’ (omoigawa) is certainly not unconvincing. The latter section of the Right’s poem sounds fine. It should win.

Love VII: 15

Left.
最上河人の心の稲船もしばしばかりと聞かば頼まん

mogamigawa
hito no kokoro no
inabune mo
shibashi bakari to
kikaba tanoman
Upon Mogami River,
Her heart is as
A rice-boat;
That but for a little while
She will hear me, is all my longing.

Lord Ari’ie
989

Right (Win).
飛鳥川淵瀬ひまなき世の中に人のつらさぞ變らざりける

asukagawa
fuchi se himanaki
yo no naka ni
hito no tsurasa zo
kawarazarikeru
On Asuka River
The deeps and shallows have no rest;
In this world of ours,
Her cruelty
Is unchanging.

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office
990

The Right state: we have no criticisms to make of the Left’s poem. The Left state: we wonder about the Right’s use of ‘the deeps and shallows have no rest’ (fuchi se himanaki).

In judgement: ‘Mogami River’ appears to be technically accomplished, but the final section sounds excessive. The deeps and shallows of Asuka River, indeed, do change constantly. The final section, too, seems fine. Thus, the Right wins.

Love VII: 14

Left (Win).
いつかさはまたは逢ふ瀬を松浦潟此河上に家は住むとも

itsuka sa wa
mata wa ause o
matsu’uragata
kono kawakami ni
ie wa sumu tomo
Sometime it may be that
Again we’ll meet, so
I await, though on Matsura Inlet’s
Upper reaches
Does my house lie…

Lord Sada’ie
987

Right.
水無瀬川淺き契と思へども涙は袖にかけぬ間ぞなき

minasegawa
asaki chigiri to
omoedomo
namida wa sode ni
kakenu ma zo naki
The River Minase runs
Shallow as our vows
I feel, yet
Tears upon my sleeves
Fall without a single pause…

Lord Tsune’ie
988

The Right state: we are unable to admire the Left’s poem. The Left state: if the initial part of the poem has ‘shallow’ (asashi), we would like there to be ‘deep’ (fukashi) in the concluding section. In addition, is the poem suggesting that the shallows do not give rise to waves? The initial and concluding section of the poem do not match and the whole is old-fashioned.

In judgement: the Gentlemen of the Right state that they are unable to admire the Left’s poem. It also sounds like there are a number of accumulated criticisms of the Right’s poem.  This is enough to cause me quite some perplexity. I am unable to identify any faults in the Left’s poem which render it unworthy of appreciation. Thus, the Left wins.

Love VII: 13

Left (Tie).
聞きわたるありなれ河の水にこそ影を傡べて住まゝほしけれ

kikiwataru
arinaregawa no
mizu ni koso
kage o narabete
sumamahoshikere
Echoes cross
The Arinare River’s
Waters;
Bringing to mind the face
Of the one I would be with…

Kenshō
985

Right.
涙川逢ふ瀬も知らぬみをつくし丈越す程になりにけるかな

namidagawa
ause mo shiranu
miotsukushi
take kosu hodo ni
narinikeru kana
A river of tears:
I know no way for us to meet, so
The channel buoys, my soul,
Are flooded over –
That is how they be!

Nobusada
986

The Gentlemen of the Right state: we are not accustomed to hearing the expression ‘Arinare River’ (arinaregawa), and the ending of the poem is old-fashioned. The Gentlemen of the Left state: ‘are flooded over’ (take kosu hodo) sounds excessively modern.

In judgement: ‘Arinare River’ is unusual, and the final section of the Left’s poem is certainly old-fashioned. The ‘river of tears’’ (namidagawa) ‘channel buoys’ (miotsukushi) do seem to be enduring an excess of water, don’t’ they! The round should tie.

Love VII: 12

Left (Win).
與謝の海の沖つ潮風浦に吹けまつなりけりと人に聞かせん

yosa no umi no
oki tsu shio kaze
ura ni fuke
matsunarikeri to
hito ni kikasen
By the sea at Yosa,
Tidewinds on the offing,
Blow across the bay!
That I am waiting without end,
Tell him!

A Servant Girl
983

Right.
浪かくるさしでの磯の岩根松ねにあらはれてかはくまもなし

nami kakuru
sashide no iso no
iwane matsu
ne ni arawarete
kawaku ma mo nashi
Waves beat
Upon the shore at Sashide, where
The pine trees on the crags
Roots are bared and
Never dry for but a moment.

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office
984

The Right state: the Left’s poem lacks any faults. The Left state: the Right’s poem is pedestrian.

In judgement: the configuration of the Left’s ‘Blow across the bay!’ (ura ni fuke) and its links with the preceding and subsequent lines, sounds charming. The Right’s poem is stylistically elegant, but the poem more closely resembles a poem on the topic of ‘Love and Pine Trees’. Thus, the Left wins.

Love VII: 11

Left (Tie).
遠ざかる人の心は海原の沖行く舟の跡の潮風

tōzakaru
hito no kokoro wa
unabara no
oki yuku funa no
ato no shiokaze
Ever more distant grows
His heart:
Into the sea-plains of
The offing goes a boat,
Wake touched by the tidewinds…

Lord Sada’ie
981

Right.
わたつ海の浪のあなたに人は住む心あらなん風の通ひ路

wata tsu umi no
nami no anata ni
hito wa sumu
kokoro aranan
kaze no kayoiji
The endless sea:
Beyond its waves
Does my love live;
Had they any pity,
The winds would make my path to her!

Nobusada
982

The Gentlemen of the Right state: there are too many uses of no. Would it not have been better to reduce their number with, for example, ‘o, sea-plains!’ (unabara ya)? We also wonder about the use of ‘wake touched by the tidewinds’ (ato no shiokaze). The Gentlemen of the Left state: ‘does my love live’ (hito wa sumu) is grating on the ear.

In judgement: saying that the Left’s poem has too many identical words is clearly relying upon the long-established hornet-hip or crane-knee faults. In today’s poetry there are countless poems in which these faults can be identified. In addition, ‘into the sea-plains’ (unabara no) and ‘o, sea-plains’ (unabara ya) are the same. I may be wrong here, but it seems to me that in this poem, it has to be ‘into the sea-plains’. Finally, ‘wake touched by the tidewinds’ is elegant. As for the Right’s ‘beyond its waves does my love live’ (nami no anata ni hito wa sumu), this is not grating, is it? It seems that the Gentleman of the Right, being so well-read in Chinese scholarship, has required revisions to the faulty poem of the Left in the absence of the judge. Thus, what can a grand old fool do but make the round a tie.