Category Archives: Poetry Competition in Six Hundred Rounds

Love VI: 30

Left (Tie).
奈呉の海士の塩燒く煙空にのみ我名を立てゝやまんとやする

nago no ama no
shio yaku kemuri
sora ni nomi
wa ga na wo tatete
yaman to ya suru
At Nago the fisherfolk’s
Salt-burning smoke fills
The skies; is that all
My names is to be? Gossip
And then the end?

Kenshō.
959

Right.
山田守るかひ屋が下の煙こそこがれもやらぬたぐひなりけれ

yamada moru
kaiya ga shita no
kemuri koso
kogare mo yaranu
tagui narikere
Warding the mountain fields
Beneath the heated hut
The smoke
Smoulders without end –
And so do I!

Jakuren
960

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults. The Left state: we wonder about the usage of ‘beneath the heated hut’ (kaiya ga shita) with ‘warding the mountain fields’ (yamada moru). In reply: in the Man’yōshū ‘heated hut’ (kaiya), is written with characters meaning ‘deer-repelling fire hut’. In addition, in territories where they wish to drive the deer away from their mountain paddies, they take things which smell foul when burnt, such as hair, and burn them, and in order that the fires are not put out by the rain, they build a roof over them. The common folk of these places call these things ‘heated huts’ (kaiya). So, the Man’yōshū’s usage corresponds with actual practice. Again, a further criticism from the Left: the Master of the Crown Prince’s Household Office composed a poem on salting. Atsutaka also includes ‘heated hut’ in the section on mosquito fires. Such are the ideas of our forebears. That ‘heated hut’ is written in Man’yōshū with characters meaning ‘deer-repelling fire’ and ‘scented fire’ is no proof of anything. Might it not have been written this way so that it would be read to mean ‘keep’? One certainly cannot sweepingly say that it means ‘deer-repelling fire’. A further response from the Right: our forebears have presented no definite evidence, and so it is difficult to accept this argument. In addition, has it not long been accepted that ‘morning haze’ can be used to refer to the smoke from deer-repelling fires, when composing on the haze spreading? Furthermore, in the Hitomaroshū, there is the poem ‘On Kogane Mountain / Beneath the heated hut / Frogs call’. Thus, it appears that this composition must refer to mountain fields.

In judgement: the Left’s ‘At Nago the fisherfolk’ (nago no ama) links the initial and latter sections of the poem extremely well. There seems to be have been some discussion from both teams about the Right’s ‘beneath the heated hut the smoke’ (kaiya ga shita no kemuri). Prior to the to and fro about this poem, was there not a similar discussion about heated huts in the final section of spring poems about frogs? With the greatest respect, the discussion here seems little different. However, in regard to the Right’s poem, saying that love smoulders is the normal way of expressing matters. I do wonder about ‘smoulders without end’ (kogare mo yaranu), but this would certainly seem appropriate with the reference to a heated hut. The Left, in addition, with ‘salt burning smoke’ (yaku shio kemuri) lacks any faults to indicate, so with no clear winner or loser, I make this round a tie.

 

Love VI: 29

Left (Win).
忍びかね心の空に立つ煙見せばや富士の峰にまがへて

shinobikane
kokoro no sora ni
tatsu kemuri
miseba ya fuji no
mine ni magaete
I can bear no more:
Into the heavens of my heart
Smoke rises;
I would show her it is of Fuji’s
Peak an image!

A Servant Girl.
957

Right.
富士の嶺の煙も猶ぞ立のぼる上なき物は思ひなりけり

fuji no ne no
kemuri mo nao zo
tachinoboru
ue naki mono wa
omoi narikeri
The peak of Fuji:
Smoke yet
Rises there;
Higher than the highest is
My love.

Ietaka.
958

The Right state: we wonder about the meaning of ‘heavens of my heart’ (kokoro no sora). In reply, the Left: this is the same conception as the poem ‘into the heavens of my heart emerges the moon’. In reply, the Right: what is the point in using the smoke from Fuji as a metaphor? It seems as if the focus of the poem is the smoke. Furthermore, why have smoke rising in your heart without the smoke of passion? The Left state: the Right’s poem seems good.

In judgement: the Gentlemen of the competition seems to have sagaciously criticised the faults of the Left’s poem, but ‘I would show her it is of Fuji’s peak an image!’ (miseba ya fuji no mine ni magaete) is charming in configuration and diction. The Right’s poem, too, in the final section is elegant in configuration. However, I must make the Left the winner.

 

Love VI: 28

Left.
限りなき下の思ひの行衛とて燃えん煙のはてや見るべき

kagirinaki
shita no omoi no
yukue tote
moen kemuri no
hate ya mirubeki
Without limit is
My secret love:
Does it lead to
Burning smoke
For her in the end to see?

Lord Sada’ie.
955

Right (Win).
藻塩燒く浦の煙を風に見てなびかぬ人の心をぞ思ふ

moshio yaku
ura no kemuri o
kaze ni mite
nabikanu hito no
kokoro o zo omou
Seaweed salt burning
On the shore, smoke
Sighted in the wind;
No trails from her
Heart to me, alas…

Nobusada.
956

The Right state: the Left’s poem lacks smoke. The Left state: saying ‘sighted in the wind’ (kaze ni mite) sounds poor.

In judgement: the poem of the Right, which the Gentlemen of the Left have said ‘sounds poor’, has as its central section ‘sighted in the wind’, which I feel sounds extremely pleasant. The final section also sounds good. Thus, the Right wins.

Love VI: 27

Left (Tie).
憂き人に思ひ消たるる身の程を知らぬは戀の煙也けり

ukibito ni
omoiketaruru
mi no hodo o
shiranu wa koi no
kemuri narikeri
From that cruel one’s
Thoughts, extinguished
I am, all
Unknowing of love’s
Embers smoking.

Lord Kanemune.
953

Right.
昔かく戀する人や富士の嶺の絶えぬ煙と燃えはじめけん

mukashi kaku
koisuru hito ya
fuji no ne no
taenu keburi to
moehajimeken
Long ago, in such
Love did folk as
The peak of Fuji
With everlasting smoke
Begin to burn?

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office.
954

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults. The Left state: the Right’s poem is pedestrian.

In judgement: the Left’s ‘cruel one’ (ukibito) and the Right’s ‘folk in love’ (koisuru hito) should tie.

Love VI: 26

Left (Win).
戀死なんのちを思へば目にぞたつそのゆへもなき空の煙も

koishinan
nochi o omoeba
me ni zo tatsu
sono yue mo naki
sora no keburi mo
I shall die of love, and
When I think on it
What should touch my eyes
But, lacking any meaning,
Smoke rising to the skies…

Lord Ari’ie.
951

Right.
戀ひ死なむ後は煙とあがるとも君が方へぞ猶なびくべき

koishinamu
nochi wa kemuri to
agaru tomo
kimi ga kata e zo
nao nabikubeki
When I have died of love
Then, though as smoke
I may rise,
Still towards you
I shall trail!

Lord Tsune’ie.
952

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults. The Left state: we wonder about the use of ‘rise’ (agaru) in the Right’s poem.

In judgement: both poems have ‘die for love’ (koishinan), and there are no particular features of either which warrant a victory or a loss, but ‘touch my eyes’ (me ni tatsu) seems a little finer than the Right’s ‘rise’ (agaru) ‘towards’ (kata e zo).

Love VI: 25

Left (Tie).
妹が住むとをちの里の煙だになど我方へなびかざるらん

imo ga sumu
tōchi no sato no
kemuri dani
nado wa ga kata e
nabikazaruran
My darling lives
In far distant Tōchi;
Even the smoke,
Somehow, will not
Stream my way…

Lord Suetsune.
949

Right.
つれなさに絶ずなりなん煙をも我ゆへとやはながめゝしもせん

tsurenasa ni
taezu narinan
kemuri o mo
ware yue to ya wa
nagamemeshi mo sen
Her cruelty
I can endure no more!
That the smoke
Is for her sake – will she
Find that consolation? No, surely not!

Lord Takanobu.
950

Both Left and Right together state that their opponent’s poem lacks anything unusual.

In judgement: that ‘far distant Tōchi’s smoke’ (tōchi no sato no kemuri) will not stream my way really has no significance. ‘Her cruelty I can endure no more! That the smoke’ (tsurenasa ni taezu narinan kemuri) must be being used to avoid mentioning dying of love as unpropitious, and certainly lacks clarity of expression. This is clearly insufficient. The round ties.

Love VI: 24

Left (Win).
深き夜の軒の雫をかぞへても猶あまりぬる袖の雨哉

fukaki yo no
noki no shizuku o
kazoetemo
nao amari nuru
sode no ame kana
Late at night,
From my eaves the droplets
I number up, but
Still much more drenching
Is the rainfall on my sleeves.

A Servant Girl.
947

Right.
雲とづる宿の軒端の夕ながめ戀よりあまる雨の音哉

kumo tozuru
yado no nokiba no
yū nagame
koi yori amaru
ame no oto kana
Closed in with cloud,
From my dwelling’s eaves
I gaze out in the evening;
Overwhelming my love
Is the sound of rain…

Nobusada.
948

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults. The Left state: we do not understand the Right’s poem at all.

In judgement: the Left’s poem commences with ‘late at night’ (fukaki yo no) and then continues with mention of raindrops – this sounds extremely effective. The Right’s poem, too, starts ‘closed in with cloud’ (kumo tozuru) and concludes with ‘the sound of rain’ (ame no oto kana), which sounds charming, but because the poem is said to be ‘incomprehensible’ or ‘grating on the ear’, despite being one with both a significant conception and an unusual sound, there is no reason for me to shoehorn in my own views, even if much has been overlooked, so this round I will leave it at, the Right is entirely incomprehensible and the Left without fault. Thus, the Left wins.

Love VI: 23

Left (Win).
さはらずは今宵ぞ君を頼むべき袖には雨の時わかねども

sawarazu wa
koyoi zo kimi o
tanomubeki
sode ni wa ame no
toki wakanedomo
If you were unhindered
On this night, then, my love,
In you I could trust;
But on my sleeves the rain
Falls without surcease…

Lord Sada’ie.
945

Right.
來ぬ人を待つ夜更け行秋の雨は袖にのみ降る心地こそすれ

konu hito o
matsu yo fukeyuku
aki no ame wa
sode ni nomi furu
kokochi koso sure
When a man who fails to come
Is awaited and the night grows late,
The autumn rain
Falls on my sleeves, alone –
That is what I feel!

Ietaka.
946

The Right state: the phrase ‘if you were unhindered’ (sawarazu wa) sounds poor. The Left state: the Right have simply composed a poem just like Lord Yorimasa’s君戀ふとながめあかせる夜の雨は袖にしも降る心地こそすれ kimi kou to / nagame akaseru / yoru no ame wa / sode ni shimo furu / kokochi koso sure ‘That you love me / I have heard enough / This night when the rain / Upon my sleeves especially does fall – / That is what I feel!’.

In judgement: the Left are said to have a poor-sounding phrase, and the Right to have referred to Yorimasa’s poem. That it is difficult to entirely avoid to referring poems outside of the anthologies is something which people still seem to be unable to remember, but the Gentlemen of the Left have recalled this well. The final section of the Right’s poem does bear an uncanny resemblance to Yorimasa’s poem. If there should be a prior example of a phrase’s use, then while it maybe poor-sounding, the Left should win.

Love VI: 22

Left.
独のみ寢屋の板間もあはずして雨も涙も所せきまで

hitori nomi
neya no itama mo
awazushite
ame mo namida mo
tokoroseki made
All alone, and
The boards above my bedchamber
Fail to come together;
Until with raindrops and tears both
I am excessively…

Lord Ari’ie.
943

Right (Win).
深き夜の寢覺に何を思けむ窓打ちてすさむ暁の雨

fukaki yo no
nezame ni nani o
omoikemu
mado uchisusamu
akatsuki no ame
Late within the night,
I start awake; what
Was in my thoughts?
Beating against my window is
The dawntime rain.

Jakuren.
944

The Right state: we cannot grasp the sense of the Left’s use of ‘until’ (made). The Left state: the Right’s poem is certainly not easy to understand on hearing.

In judgement: is not the use of ‘until’ (made) simply because it is appropriate to conclude a poem with that syllable? I can see nothing problematic with the use of ‘beating against my window’ (mado uchisusamu) in the Right’s poem. Thus, I make the Right the winner.

 

Love VI: 21

Left (Tie).
かきくらし降りくる雨も君ならば濡るとてさらに厭はざらまし

kakikurashi
furikuru ame mo
kimi naraba
nuru tote sara ni
itowazaramashi
All is darkened by
The falling rain, but
Were that to be you, my love,
I would be drenched, but
It would not be unwelcome!

Lord Kanemune.
941

Right.
ひとり寢の床にしもなど音す覧しづかたにそゝく暁の雨

hitorine no
toko ni shimo nado
otosuran
shizukata ni sosoku
akatsuki no ame
Sleeping solo
In my bed, so why
Is there the sound
Of quiet dripping
Dawntime rain?

Lord Takanobu.
942

The Right state: while the Left’s poem does have a desirable sentiment, its expression is outrageous. The Left state: why, indeed, should there be a sound in the poet’s bed?

In judgement: the Left’s desirable sentiment is perfectly commonplace in poetry. The Right, with ‘dawntime rain’ (akatsuki no ame), is elegant. The poems are comparable and tie.