Category Archives: Poetry Competitions

Love VIII: 18

Left (Win)
鴨のゐる入江の浪を心にて胸と袖とにさはぐ戀かな

kamo no iru
irie no nami o
kokoro nite
mune to sode to ni
sawagu koi kana
Ducks flock on
The inlet’s waves
Within my heart, so
My breast and sleeves both
Are raucous with love!

Lord Sada’ie
1055

Right
佐保川の霧のまよひの程だにも妻もとむとて千鳥鳴夜を

saogawa no
kiri no mayoi no
hodo dani mo
tsuma motomu tote
chidori naku yo o
To the vernal river:
The mist brings confusion
And in its midst,
Seeking a mate,
A plover cries at night…

Jakuren
1056

The Gentlemen of the Right state: we wonder about the appropriateness of ‘my breast and sleeves both are raucous’ (mune to sode to ni sawagu)? The Left, in appeal, state: there is ‘the river-mouths of my sleeves’ (sode no minato) and ‘when I think, upon my breast’ (omoeba mune ni) so linking ‘breast’ and ‘sleeve’ is entirely uncontroversial. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we find no faults to mention in the Right’s poem.

In judgement: I understand the views of the Left’s poem held by both teams. It has also been said that the Right’s poem lacks faults. However, in ‘seeking a mate, a plover cries at night’ (tsuma motomu tote chidori naku yo o) only the two words ‘at night’ (yo o) have any conception of love. The remainder of the poem is simply about plovers, so there is little of love about it. ‘Breast and sleeves both’ (mune to sode to) should win.

Love VIII: 17

Left
山鳥のはつおの鏡掛けねども見し面影に音は泣かれけり

yamadori no
hatsuo no kagami
kakenedomo
mishi omokage ni
ne wa nakarekeri
A mountain pheasant’s
Tail of hempen cord this mirror
Does not suspend, yet
The face I saw there once
Makes me weep out loud…

Kenshō
1053

Right (Win)
面影をほの三嶋野に尋ぬれば行衛知られぬ鵙の草ぐき

omokage o
hono mishimano ni
tazunureba
yukue shirarenu
mozu no kusaguki
Her face
I did but briefly see at Mishimano
When I visited there;
I know not where has gone
The shrike hiding in the grasses.

Lord Takanobu
1054

The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to mention. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we wonder about the appropriateness of combining ‘Mishima Plain’ (mishimano) with ‘the shrike hiding in the grasses (mozu no kusaguki). Is there a poem as a precedent for this? If not, is it suitable?

In judgement: both poems have the conception of love: of imagining the pheasant and his mirror, and weeping at the memory of a lover’s face; and thinking of the shrike hiding in the grasses, visiting Mishima Plain, and recalling the past. However, what should we do about the matter of whether there is a precedent poem for ‘the shrike hiding in the grasses’ on Mishima Plain? Surely, it could be any plain, so there is no reason not to use this. The configuration of ‘I know not where has gone’ (yukue shirarenu) sounds better than that of ‘makes me weep out loud’ (ne wa nakarekeri). The Right, again, must win, I think.

 

Love VIII: 16

Left
玉章のたえだえになるたぐひかな雲井に雁の見えみ見えずみ

tamazusa no
taedae ni naru
tagui kana
kumoi ni kari no
miemi miezumi
His jewelled missives
Have become intermittent
It seems, just like
The geese up in the skies,
Glimpsed, and then not seen at all…

Lord Ari’ie
1051

Right (Win)
思かぬる夜はの袂に風ふけて涙の河に千鳥鳴くなり

omoikanuru
yowa no tamoto ni
kaze fukete
namida no kawa ni
chidori nakunari
Unable to bear my love,
At midnight my sleeve is
Stirred by the wind, and
Upon a river of tears
The plovers are crying…

Nobusada
1052

The Gentlemen of the Right state: we find no faults to mention in the Left’s poem. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we wonder about the reason for emphasising ‘upon a river of tears the plovers’ (namida no kawa ni chidori).

In judgement: the Left on a lover’s letters becoming intermittent, and saying ‘the geese up in the skies, glimpsed, and then not seen at all’ (kumoi ni kari no miemi miezumi) has a charming conception, and elegant diction. The Right, saying ‘at midnight my sleeve is stirred by the wind’ (yowa no tamoto ni kaze fukete) and continuing ‘the plovers are crying’ (chidori nakunari) has a configuration and diction which sounds fine, too. The criticisms of the Gentlemen of the Left are nothing more than ‘a fisherman fishing beneath his pillow’! Although the conception of the Left’s poem is charming, the configuration of the Right’s poem is slightly more notable, so it should win.

Love VIII: 15

Left (Win)
鳥の音は戀しき人の何なれや逢夜はいとひ逢はぬ夜は待つ

tori no ne wa
koishiki hito no
nani nare ya
auyo wa itoi
awanu yo wa matsu
The cock’s crow:
For my darling,
What might it mean?
Hated on nights we meet, and
Longed for when we do not…

Lord Kanemune
1049

Right
いかにして空とる程もはし鷹のしばしもこひに身を休むらん

ika ni shite
sora toru hodo mo
hashitaka no
shibashi mo koi ni
mi o yasumuran
Why, when
Hunting in the skies, does
The sparrowhawk
Briefly in the trees
Take his ease?

Ietaka
1050

The Gentlemen of the Right state: ‘What might it mean?’ (nani nare ya) fails to match. Ending ‘longed for’ (matsu) is overly definite. The Gentlemen of the Left state: what has hunting in the skies got to do with love?

In judgement: it has been said that ‘cock’s crow’ (tori no ne) and ‘what might it mean’ fail to match. Then there is also ‘definite’ (futsugiri). These are nothing but expressions which I do not know and find difficult to understand. ‘The sparrowhawk hunting in the skies’ (hashitaka no sora toru hodo) and ‘take his ease in the trees’ (koi ni yasumuran) both have only a faint conception of love, and I wonder about alluding to hawking. The Left failing to match, too, may be a term used in coursing for deer. Well, even if the deer do not match, as it has the conception of love, the Left should win.

Love VIII: 14

Left (Tie)
人心常は卯月の時鳥ことかたらはん聲を聞かばや

hito kokoro
tsune wa uzuki no
hototogisu
koto kataran
koe o kikaba ya
Her heart is
Ever chill; O, for the Fourth Month
Cuckoo
To tell me
With a gentle song!

Lord Suetsune
1047

Right
足引の遠山鳥の一聲は我つまながらめづらしき哉

ashihiki no
tōyamadori no
hitogoe wa
ware tsumanagara
mezurashiki kana
Leg-wearying
The distant mountain pheasant’s
Call is
Even for his mate
A rare thing, indeed!

Lord Tsune’ie
1048

The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults. The Gentlemen of the Left state: the initial part of the Right’s poem has an antiquated feel.

In judgement: the Left’s ‘cuckoo’ (hototogisu) and the Right’s ‘mountain pheasant’ (yamadori) are of the same level.

Love VIII: 13

Left
時しもあれ空飛ぶ鳥の一聲も思ふ方より來てや鳴らん

toki shi mo are
sora tobu tori no
hitogoe mo
omou kata yori
kite ya naruran
Now, when I am wondering,
A bird, soaring through the skies,
Gives a single call;
From whence I love
Does it come, I wonder?

A Servant Girl
1045

Right (Win)
天の戸を明けぬと告ぐる鳥の音も獨寢る夜はさもあらばあれ

ama no to o
akenu to tsuguru
tori no ne mo
hitori neru yo wa
sa mo araba are
“The gates of Heaven
Are open!” announces
A cock’s crow, though
On a night spent sleeping alone,
It matters not at all…

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress Household Office
1046

The Right state: what gives rise to the idea in the Left’s poem? The Gentlemen of the Left state: there are no faults we can find.

In judgement: what sort of bird is it that ‘soaring through the skies gives a single call’ (sora tobu tori no hitogoe)? I wonder if there is a suitable source for this? That being said, I doubt the Gentlemen of the Right’s point is pertinent. It has been stated that the Right’s poem lacks any faults. It must win.

Love VIII: 12

Left (Tie)
思ひかねうち寢る宵もありなまし吹だにすさめ庭の松風

omoikane
uchineru yoi mo
arinamashi
fuki dani susame
niwa no matsukaze
Unable to bear the pains of love, and
Dozing through the night –
That happens sometimes;
O, just blow gently,
Breeze through the garden pines!

A Servant Girl
1043

Right
思ひかねながむれば又夕日さす軒端の岡の松もうらめし

omoikane
nagamureba mata
yūhi sasu
nokiba no oka no
matsu mo urameshi
Unable to bear the pains of love,
When I gaze out, once more
The evening sun shines
Past my eaves, where on the hillside
Even the pines seem resentful…

Ietaka
1044

Same as the previous round.

In judgement: here we have ‘O, just blow gently’ (fuki dani susame), and the Right has ‘Past my eaves, where on the hillside’ (nokiba no oka no): these recollect the poems ‘in the depths of sleep I tread to you’ (uchinuru naka ni yukikayou) and ‘the beams strike the hillside through the pine needles’ (sasu ya okabe no  matsu no ha); both sound elegant. I make this round a tie.

Love VIII: 11

Left
山深み種ある岩に生ふる松の根よりもかたき戀や何なる

yama fukami
tane aru iwa ni
ouru matsu no
ne yori mo kataki
koi ya nani naru
Deep with the mountains,
Upon the crags where seeds
Grow into pines,
Rooted firmly – how hard
Will our love be?

Lord Ari’ie
1041

Right (Win)
契きなまた忘れずよ初瀬河布留川野邊の二本の杉

chigirikina
mata wasurezu yo
hatsusegawa
furukawa nobe no
futamoto no sugi
You vowed it, did you not.
Not to forget me more.
In the River Hatsuse and
River Furu’s meadows
Stand twin cedars.

Jakuren
1042

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

In judgement: While there are such things in the heart of the mountains as ‘crags where seeds grow into pines’ (tane aru iwa ni ouru matsu), it is normally by the sea or on rocky coastlines that one finds firmly rooted pine trees. Surely, mountain pines are but lightly rooted? Cedars on River Hatsuse recollects ‘Nor will I ever; a solid brick-kiln’ (wasurezu yo kawaraya), but ‘You vowed it, did you not’ (chigirikina) also reminds me of the old phrase ‘Both our sleeves wringing out’ (katami ni sode o shiboritsutsu), which is most fine. Thus, the Right wins.

Love VIII: 10

Left (Win)
うかりける我み山木の契かな連なる枝もありとこそ聞け

ukarikeru
wa ga mi yamagi no
chigiri kana
tsuranaru eda mo
ari to koso kike
In despair
Am I: hidden among the mountain trees
Is my love;
Though once branches lay atop each other
I did hear…

Lord Suetsune
1039

Right
涙には憂き深山木も朽ちぬべし沖つ小嶋のひさきならねど

namida ni wa
uki fukayamagi mo
kuchinubeshi
oki tsu kojima no
hisaki naranedo
Among my tears,
Drift, despairing, trees from the mountain deeps,
Rotting all away, though
On islets in the offing
On bush-covered beaches, they are not…

Lord Tsune’ie
1040

Both Left and Right state: we find no faults.

In judgement: both Left and Right use the image of ‘trees from the mountain deeps’ (fukayamagi), and neither is superior, or inferior, to the other in this, but I would have to say that the Left’s ‘though once branches lay atop each other I did hear…’ (tsuranaru eda mo ari to koso kike) is somewhat better than the Right’s ‘on bush-covered beaches, they are not…’ (hisaki naranedo).

Love VIII: 9

Left (Tie)
何とかく結ぼほるらん君はよもあはれとだにも岩代の松

nani to kaku
musubohoruran
kimi wa yomo
aware to dani mo
iwashiro no matsu
For what should we be so
Entwined?
He simply
Thinks of me with pity,
And says nothing, O pines of Iwashiro!

Lord Kanemune
1037

Right
人戀ふる宿の櫻に風吹けば花も涙になりにけるかな

hito kouru
yado no sakura ni
kaze fukeba
hana mo namida ni
narinikeru kana
Loving him,
My dwelling’s cherry trees
Are blown by the wind,
Petals, my tears
Have become…

Nobusada
1038

The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to mention. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we wonder about the appropriateness of ‘petals, my tears’ (hana mo namida ni).

In judgement: the Left’s poem, with ‘he simply’ (kimi wa yomo) followed by ‘Thinks of me with pity, O pines of Iwashiro!’ (aware to dani mo iwashiro no matsu) is certainly elegant. The Right’s poem does have ‘petals, my tears’ (hana mo namida ni). It commences, ‘loving him, my dwelling’s cherry trees’ (hito kouru yado no sakura) and, when they are blown by the wind, the lady’s eyes darken with tears, and she is unable to distinguish the mass of blossom. It unclear which of the two should be winner, or loser. Thus, I shall make this a tie.