Category Archives: Poetry Competition in Six Hundred Rounds

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.

Love VII: 10

Left (Tie).
雲井まで續きて見ゆわたつ海の行衛知られぬ物思かな

kumoi made
tsuzukite miyu
wata tsu umi no
yukue shirarenu
mono’omoi kana
Beyond the clouds
My gaze goes on and on;
The endless sea:
What lies beyond is unknown
As my gloomy thoughts…

Lord Suetsune.
979

Right.
伊勢の海の潮瀬にさはぐさざれ石の砕けて物を思ふ比かな

ise no umi no
shiose ni sawagu
sazare’ishi no
kudakete mono o
omou koro kana
The sea at Ise:
Raging rapids with the tides,
Where pebbles
Shatter, gloom
Filling my thoughts these days…

Ietaka.
980

The Right state: the Left’s poem is clichéd. The Left state: the Right’s poem is that of Shigeyuki.

In judgement: the Left’s poem is clichéd, but in addition to this uses ‘goes on and on’ (tsuzukite), which is not something one should say. The Right’s poem is, indeed, overly close to Shigeyuki’s, so both Left and Right poem are deficient and lacking in any element allowing a win.

Love VII: 9

Left (Win).
思ヘどもまだ見ぬ程は滿つ潮に入りぬる磯のためしだになし

omoedomo
mada minu hodo wa
mitsu shio ni
irinuru iso no
tameshi dani nashi
I love her, yet
Have not caught a glimpse;
The rising tide
Flooding the rocky shore –
There’s not even a case of that!

Lord Kanemune.
977

Right.
岩根打つ荒磯浪の高きこそまだよそながら袖は濡るなれ

iwane utsu
ara’iso nami no
takaki koso
mada yosonagara
sode wa nuru nare
Crashing on the crags by
The rocky shore, the waves
Are high, indeed;
Distant, perhaps, but
Still my sleeves are soaked…

Lord Takanobu.
978

Both Left and Right state that the opposing poem lacks a strong conception of the sea.

In judgement: I wonder whether the suggestion by both Left and Right that the poems lack a strong conception of the sea is correct. The Left has ‘the rising tide flooding the rocky shore’ (mitsu shio ni irinuru iso), while the Right has ‘crashing on the crags by the rocky shore’ (iwane utsu ara’iso). If these expressions do not strongly convey the conception of the sea, then I ask you, what would? I wonder, though, how one’s sleeves can get soaked if the waves, though high, are distant. The final section of the Left’s poem is elegant. It wins.

Love VII: 8

Left (Tie).
わたの原沖つ潮風に立つ浪の寄り來やかかる汀なりとも

wata no hara
oki tsu nami ni
tatsu nami no
yoriko ya kakaru
migiwa naritomo
Across the broad sea sweep,
The waves from the offing,
The breakers:
So I would have you come to me,
Though I be such a shore…

Lord Ari’ie.
975

Right.
わたの原深き契りや渚なるかたし貝ともなりにける哉

wata no hara
fukaki ya chigiri
nagisa naru
katashigai tomo
narinikeru kana
The broad sea sweep’s
Depths: did our vow match them?
Upon the beach lie
Single seashells:
That is what we have become!

Lord Tsune’ie.
976

The Right state: we are unable to appreciate the Left’s poem. The Left state: as are we the Right’s poem.

In judgement: the Left’s poem would seem to be an improved example of a poem in the style of the previous round. That being said, the waves wouldn’t not come, would they? And, what is the point in addressing them so? The Right’s poem has an extremely flippant final section. The poems are comparable and should tie.

Love VII: 7

Left.
鯨取るさかしき海の底までも君だに住まば浪路しのがん

kujira toru
sakashiki umi no
soko made mo
kimi dani sumaba
namij shinoga
The whale-hunting
Savage sea’s
Depths: even there,
Should it be your dwelling,
Would I endure the waves…

Kenshō.
973

Right (Win).
石見潟千尋の底もたとふれば淺き瀬になる身の恨かな

iwamigata
chihiro no soko mo
tatoureba
asaki se ni naru
mi o urami kana
Iwamigata:
Your thousand fathom depths
I take as
A shallow shoal
For my despite.

Jakuren.
974

The Right state:  the Left’s poem leaves a fearsome impression, does it not? The Left state: we find no fault with the Right’s poem.

In judgement: The Left’s ‘whale hunting’ (kujira toran) I remember occurring in the Man’yōshū, but among many of that collection’s oddly-styled poems. However, it does sound extremely fearsome. When Emperor Qin Shihuang sought Mount Penglai, although he said to ‘shoot’ (iyo) great fish, I have not heard that he went so far as to ‘hunt’ (tore) them. Generally speaking, poems should evoke delicacy and charm, and what purpose is served, for the way of poetry, or for the individual, by frightening people deliberately? The Right’s Iwamigata and ‘For my despite’ (mi no urami kana) recalls an official complaining over being passed over for promotion. However, I cannot accept the Left’s poem. Thus, the Right wins.

Love VII: 6

Left (Tie).
足引の山路の秋になる袖はうつろふ人のあらしなりけり

ashihiki no
yamaji no aki ni
naru sode wa
utsurou hito no
arashi narikeri
Leg wearying
Mountain trails in autumn
Have my sleeves become,
For she fades from my life, as
A departing storm…

Lord Sada’ie.
971

Right.
この世には吉野の山の奧にだにありとはつらき人に知られじ

kono yo ni wa
yoshino no yama no
oku ni dani
ari to wa tsuraki
hito ni shirareji
Within this world, were I
In the Yoshino mountains’
Heart, even so
That cruel
One would know it not!

Jakuren.
972

The Right state: the Left’s poem does not refer to a specific mountain – we wonder whether this is acceptable? In addition, ‘in autumn have my sleeves’ (aki ni naru sode) and ‘she…as a storm’ (hito no arashi) is difficult to understand. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to indicate.

In judgement: in connection with the criticism made of the Left’s poem, I do not feel that it is always essential to refer to a specific mountain. The other matters are, indeed, difficult to understand. The underlying sense of the Right’s poem seems overly pretentious. It is reminiscent of the tales of Boyi and Shuqi, or of Jie Zhitui, and Mount Shouyang and Mount Mian. Really, it does put me in mind of the Four White-Headed Recluses of Mount Shang, where it says, ‘They emerged due to the plans of Zhang Liang, made for Huidi, who said, “Though I may lie down with the greybeards, enjoying Mount Shang myself, all, in the end, are people under Zhang Liang.”’ It is extremely difficult, in the end, to make these sentiments relevant to our own land. Thus, I find it inappropriate to accept the content of the Right’s poem. The Left’s poem has its faults, too, so cursorily, I make this round a tie.

Love VII: 5

Left (Win).
末の松待つ夜幾度過ぬらん山超す浪を袖にまかせて

sue no matsu
matsu yo ikutabi
suginuran
yama kosu nami o
sode ni makasete
At the pines of Sué
How many nights have I spent
Pining for him?
As the waves break over the mountain
So let them on my sleeves…

A Servant Girl.
969

Right.
人知れず君に心を筑波山ひまなきものはなげき也けり

hito shirezu
kimi ni kokoro o
tsukubayama
himanaki mono wa
nageki narikeri
Secretly
For you has my heart
Yearned to exhaustion; as Tsukuba Mountain’s
Close packed trees, endless
Is my grief.

Lord Tsune’ie.
970

The Gentlemen of the Right state: in what way are the the waves ‘allowed’ in ‘let them on my sleeves’ (sode ni makasuru)? The Left state: the Right uses Tsukuba, followed by ‘close packed trees, endless’ (himanaki), and although this does have the same meaning, it would be more customary to use ‘verdant’ (shigeki).

In judgement: although the Left’s  ‘so let them on my sleeves’ (sode ni makasete) sounds somewhat unclear, the Right’s ‘Tsukuba Mountain’s close packed trees, endless’ suggests many layers of reed-thatch, I think. ‘As the waves break over the mountain’ (yama kosu nami) seems to reach greater heights.