Category Archives: Poetry Competition in Six Hundred Rounds

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.

Love VII: 26

Left.
人心緒絶えの橋に立かへり木の葉降りしく秋の通ひ路

hito kokoro
odae no hashi ni
tachikaeri
ko no ha furishiku
aki no kayoiji
Our hearts
On the broken bridge at Odae
Do stand;
Fallen leaves swept along
The autumn paths back and forth…

Lord Sada’ie.
1011

Right.
思はずに緒絶えの橋と成ぬれどなを人知れず戀わたるかな

omowazu ni
odae no hashi to
narinuredo
nao hito shirezu
koi watarukana
Unthinkingly
To the broken bridge of Odae
Have we come, yet
Still, unknown to all,
Might our love make a crossing?

Lord Tsune’ie.
1012

The Gentlemen of the Right state: we wonder about the purpose of ‘fallen leaves swept along’ (ko no ha furishiku) in the Left’s poem. The Gentlemen of the Left state: the Right’s poem is pedestrian.

In judgement: Both the poems of the Left and of the Right use ‘bridge of Odae’ (odae no hashi) which is tasteful. The Left’s ‘fallen leaves swept along’ must be following Ise Monogatari. The gentlemen of the Right must surely be pretending ignorance! The poem of the Right, too, has an elegant total configuration, but ‘unknown to all’ (hito shirezu) is at odds with the emotional overtones. Thus the Left’s ‘fallen leaves swept along the autumn paths back and forth’ is better. I make it the winner.

Love VII: 25

Left (Win).
いざやさは君に逢はずは渡らじと身を宇治橋に書き付けてみん

iza ya sa wa
kimi ni awazu wa
wataraji to
mi o ujihashi ni
kakitsuketemin
So, then,
If I am not to meet you,
I’ll not cross
In my despair, the bridge at Uji,
But just inscribe this here…

Kenshō
1009

Right.
都思ふ濱名の橋の旅人や浪に濡れては恋渡るらむ

miyako omou
hamana no hashi no
tabibito ya
nami ni nurete wa
koiwataruran
His thoughts on the capital,
The bridge at Hamana,
Does a traveller,
Wet by the waves,
Cross while lost in love?

Lord Takanobu
1010

The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to indicate. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we wonder if the Right’s poem does not sound as if it is only the capital which the poet loves?

In judgement: in the Left’s poem, ‘If I am not to meet you, I’ll not cross’ (kimi ni awazu wa wataraji to)  is particularly charming, having the conception of the tale of Sima Xiangru in Mengqiu, at the bridge into the commandery of Shu, where he says, ‘If I am not aboard a four-horse carriage, I’ll never cross this bridge again!’, and then later was made a Cavalryman in Permanent Attendance, and entered as an imperial messenger. Metaphorically, it also evokes his meeting with Wenjun, and so seems particularly profound. The poem of the Right commences with ‘His thoughts on the capital’ (miyako omou) and then continues with ‘wet by the waves, cross while lost in love’ (nami ni nurete wa koiwataruran). I do not see how one can say that this poem lacks the conception of Love. However, the conception of the Left’s poem seems rare, indeed. Thus, it wins.

Love VII: 24

Left (Tie).
故郷に見し面影も宿りけり不破の関屋の板間洩る月

furusato ni
mishi omokage mo
yadorikeri
fuwa no sekiya no
itama moru tsuki
Back home
I saw her face, and
It lodges here,
At the Barrier House at Fuwa,
In the moonlight leaking through the boards.

A Servant Girl
1007

Right.
人恋ふる我ながめよ思けり須磨の関屋の有明の月

hito kouru
ware nagameyo
omoikeri
suma no sekiya no
ariake no tsuki
Loving you,
I will ever gaze,
I thought,
At the Barrier House at Suma
On the dawntime moon.

Nobusada
1008

The Right state: the Left’s poem is good. The Left state: the Right’s poem lacks any faults to indicate.

In judgement: the Left’s ‘Barrier House at Fuwa’ (fuwa no sekiya) followed by ‘the moonlight leaking through the boards’ (itama moru tsuki) is truly charming. In addition, if one wonders why ‘I saw her face’ (mishi omokage mo) has been used, it is certainly reminiscent of the poem ‘The dawntime moon, too, lodges in the waters clear’, but an improvement on it. It is difficult to say, however, that the Right’s ‘At the Barrier House at Suma on the dawntime moon’ (suma no sekiya no ariake no tsuki) is in any way inferior.

Love VII: 23

Left.
逢ひ見じと思かたむる中なれやかく解けがたき下紐の関

aimiji to
omoikatamuru
naka nare ya
kaku tokegataki
shimohimo no seki
Never to meet
Has she hardened her heart –
Is that to be our bond?
As hard to undo as
The barrier at Shitahimo!

Lord Suetsune
1005

Right (Win).
恋しともかくは人にも知られなんと思ふ心や文字の関守

koishitomo
kaku wa hito ni mi
shirarenan to
omou kokoro ya
moji no sekimori
The letters for love, should
I write, would she my feelings
Then understand, I
Wonder? Does her heart have
A barrier warden at Moji?

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office
1006

The Right state: ‘hardened her heart’ (omoikatamuru) is grating on the ear. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to indicate.

In judgement: regardless of whether the Left’s poem sounds poor or not, having both ‘hardened’ (katamuru) and ‘hard’ (kataki) is a fault. So, ‘a barrier warden at Moji’ (moji no sekimori) wins.

Love VII: 22

Left (Tie).
先の世に契らざりける身の憂さや逢坂山の君が関守

saki no yo ni
chigirazarikeru
mi no usa ya
ausakayama no
kimi ga sekimori
In a previous life
We made no vow –
Is that why all’s so cruel?
On the Mount of Meeting Hill
Barrier wardens stand before you!

Lord Kanemune
1003

Right.
頼めてもまだ越えぬまは相坂の関も名こその心地こそすれ

tanometemo
mada koenu ma wa
ausaka no
seki mo na koso no
kokochi koso sure
However much I hope
While I have yet to cross
Meeting Hill’s
Barrier, of Nakoso does it
Just remind me!

Ietaka
1004

The Right state: we wonder about the use of ‘Barrier wardens stand before you’ (kimi ga sekimori). The Left state: the Right’s poem lacks any faults to indicate.

In judgement: both Left and Right’s ‘Meeting Hills’ lack faults or merits. Thus, the round ties.

Love VII: 21

Left.
夜を重ね心の関のかたきかなわが音は鳥の空音ならねば

yo o kasane
kokoro no seki no
kataki kana
wa ga ne wa tori no
sorane naraneba
Night upon night
The barriers upon your heart
Stand firm, indeed!
For the sounds I make are no cock’s
False crow!

Lord Ari’ie
1001

Right (Win).
人知れぬうらみにあまる浪の上を抑ふる袖や須磨の関守

hito shirenu
urami ni amaru
nami no ue o
osauru sode ya
suma no sekimori
She cannot know
The prospect of my despair;
Dashed upon the waves
Are my sleeves
Barrier Wardens at Suma?

Jakuren
1002

The Right state: why specifically refer to a ‘false crow’ (sorane)? This makes it sound as if the barrier would not be opened for a real bird’s cry. In response, the Left: as there is the precedent of a barrier being opened in response to a false crow, the poem draws upon this to refer to ‘the sounds I make’ (wa ga ne) – we fail to see why this is problematic. The Left state: we find no faults in need of identification in the Right’s poem.

In judgement: it seems difficult to distinguish between ‘the sounds I make’ and the ‘false crow’ in the Left’s poem, and the Right’s ‘dashed upon the waves are my sleeves’ (osauru sode) is pleasant. Thus, the Right wins.