Category Archives: Poetry Competition in Six Hundred Rounds

Love X: 21

Left
朝夕にみ山に通ふ賤だにも歎きはこらぬ物とこそ聞け

asa yū ni
miyama ni kayou
shizu dani mo
nageki wa koranu
mono to koso kike
Morning and evening,
Travelling to the mountain deeps and back,
Even the woodsmen
Will not fell the tree of grief,
Or so I hear…

Lord Kanemune
1181

Right (Win)
賤の男よ思ひはわれもこりぬべしをのが苦しき妻木ならねど

shizu no o yo
omoi wa ware mo
korinubeshi
ono ga kurushiki
tsumaki naranedo
O, woodsman!
I, too, in fires of passion
Must burn on;
My longing for my love, your axe
To kindling will not hew, and yet…

Nobusada
1182

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to indicate. The Left state: the Right’s poem sounds like it is chopping kindling that the woodsman will do no more.

In judgement: ‘Travelling to the mountain deeps and back, the woodsmen’ (miyama ni kayou shizu) should ‘fell the tree of grief’ (nageki o koru), but in the poem they ‘do not fell’ (koranu) it – I wonder how appropriate this is. This conception seems to be one not relating to grief, but simply to tree-felling. ‘I, too, in fires of passion must burn on’ (omoi wa ware mo korinubeshi) seems somewhat difficult to interpret, but I must say that the configuration of the final section is superb.

Love X: 20

Left (Win)
うら山し賤も妻木を立てつめりいつ休むべき恋にかあるらん

urayamashi
shizu mo tsumagi o
tatetsumeri
itsu yasumubeki
koi ni ka aruran
How I envy
The mountain man who kindling
Has gathered all together!
When, though, will I find respite
From love?

Lord Suetsune
1179

Right
思ひ出るかひもなければ山人はあはぬつま木にこりやしぬらん

omoi’izuru
kai mo nakereba
yamabito wa
awanu tsumagi ni
kori ya shinuran
Remembering
Deeply serves no point, but
A mountain man
I am not – unable to meet her – kindling
Should I be cutting?

Lord Tsune’ie
1180

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

In judgement: although I wonder the extent to which the Left’s ‘how I envy’ (urayamashi) a mountain man resting is accurate, I also wonder whether this sort of back and forth upon the path is something which commonly appears, so the poem does not seem uninteresting. The Right’s ‘remembering deeply serves no point’ (omoi’izuru kai mo nakereba) does not sound particularly out of the ordinary. The Left wins somehow.

Love X: 19

Left (Win)
恋路には風やはさそふ朝夕に谷の柴舟行帰れども

koiji ni wa
kaze ya wa sasou
asa yū ni
tani no shibabune
yukikaeredomo
Along the path of love
Does the wind beckon me?
Morning and evening
Along the valley boats of brushwood
Go back and forth, yet…

A Servant Girl
1177

Right
真柴こる賤にもあらぬ身なれども恋ゆへわれも歎きをぞ積む

mashiba koru
shizu ni mo aranu
mi naredomo
koi yue ware mo
nageki o zo tsumu
Cutting kindling as
A mountain man is not
My lot, yet
For love do I
Stack up my grief in logs!

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office
1178

Left and Right together state: there is no reason to make any criticisms here.

In judgement: although ‘beckon’ (sasou) in the Left’s poem should be ‘send’ (okuru), it is certainly elegant how it evokes thoughts of Captain Cheng travelling along the valley. The Right, beginning with ‘kindling’ (mashiba) and then having ‘grief in logs’ (nageki) sounds a little too similar, I think. The Left should win.

Love X: 18

Left (Win)
袖ぞ今は雄島の海人もいさりせん干さぬたぐひに思ひける哉

sode zo ima wa
oshima no ama mo
isarisen
hosanu tagui ni
omoikeru kana
My sleeves, now, and
At Oshima the divers, too
Are fishing;
Both are never dry
I feel!

Lord Sada’ie
1175

Right
恋をのみ志田の浮島浮き沈み海人にも似たる袖の浪かな

koi o nomi
shida no ukishima
ukishizumi
ama ni mo nitaru
sode no nami kana
From love alone, at
Ukishima in Shida –
Submerging and emerging,
A diver do I seem,
Waves washing on my sleeves!

Lord Takanobu
1176

Left and Right together state: the poems do not seem poor.

In judgement: this round also seems pleasant. With ‘at Oshima the divers, too are fishing’ (oshima no ama mo isarisen) and ‘Ukishima in Shita – submerging and emerging’ (shita no ukishima ukishizumi) the scene of sleeves of both Left and Right sound splendid. Once more, again, I must make this a tie.

Love X: 17

Left (Tie)
よそにやは釣する志賀の海人を見ん枕の下を知らせだにせば

yoso ni ya wa
tsuri suru shiga no
ama o min
makura no shita o
shirase dani seba
Unconnected with
Fishing diver-girls
At Shiga would I seem?
When what lies beneath my pillow
Is revealed…

Lord Ari’ie
1173

Right
潮たるる袖にあはれの深きより心に浮ぶ海人の釣舟

shio taruru
sode ni aware no
fukaki yori
kokoro ni ukabu
ama no tsuribune
Tide-spattered
Sleeves: my sorrow is
So deep that
Floating upon my heart is
A diver-girl’s fishing boat!

Nobusada
1174

Left and Right together state: no faults.

In judgement: the poem of the Left has ‘unconnected with fishing diver-girls at Shiga would I seem?’ (yoso ni ya wa tsuri suru shiga no ama o min) and the poem of the Right has ‘floating upon my heart is a diver-girl’s fishing boat!’ (kokoro ni ukabu ama no tsuribune): both have profound conception and their diction sounds pleasant, so it is difficult to divide them into superior and inferior works. Thus, I make this a tie.

Love X: 16

Left (Win)
さざ浪や志賀津の海士になりにけりみるめはなくて袖のしほるる

sazanami ya
shigatsu no ama ni
narinikeri
mirume wa nakute
sode no shioruru
Rocked by wavelets
A fisherman at Shiga Bay
Have I become!
Glimpsing no seaweed,
How my sleeves are soaked…

Lord Suetsune
1171

Right
伊勢の海の底までかづく海人なれやみるめに人を思ふ心は

ise no umi no
soko made kazuku
ama nare ya
mirume ni hito o
omou kokoro wa
At Ise, to the sea
Bed dive
Fisher-girls: Am I one, too?
A seaweed-tangled glimpse of you
Lodging in my heart…

Jakuren
1172

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to mention. The Left state: neither beginning nor end is sufficiently forcefully expressed.

In judgement: the conception and configuration of the Left’s ‘fisherman at Shiga Bay’ (shigatsu no ama) certainly seem splendid. That is really all there is to say about this poem. To make a deliberate point of seeking out elements which sound difficult is a pointless activity for the Way of Poetry and an individual poet. As for the Right’s poem, diving ‘to the sea bed’ (soko made) is just something that fisher-girls do. The Left must win.

Love X: 15

Left
藻塩やく海人のまくかたならねども恋のそめきもいとなかりけり

moshio yaku
ama no makuka
tanaranedomo
koi no someki mo
ito nakarikeri
Burning seaweed for salt,
Scattering on the shore are the fisher-girls;
Not just so, but
From the tumult of love
Is there little respite.

Kenshō
1169

Right (Win)
思ひにはたぐひなるべき伊勢の海人も人を恨みぬ袖ぞ濡れける

omoi ni wa
taguinarubeki
ise no ama mo
hito o uraminu
sode zo nurekeru
In thoughts of love
Are we the same:
The diver girls at Ise,
Gazing at bay, with no sight of you
My sleeves are soaked.

Ietaka
1170

The Right state: there is a theory that ‘scattering on the shore’ (ama no makukata) is actually ‘waiting’ (matekata). How should this phrase be correctly be understood here? In response, the Left: the poem was composed from the standpoint that ‘scattering on the shore’ is correct. The Later Selection texts vary between ku and te, but ‘without surcease’ (itoma nami) is an appropriate expression for burning seaweed for salt. In both the Collection of a Myriad Leaves and the Tales of Ise there is the expression ‘ceaseless salt burning (shio yaku itoma nashi). In addition, there is the Ise Priestess Consort’s poem ‘Scattering on the shore, the fisher-girls rake seaweed’, where te would not be suitable. Izumi Shikibu’s poem:

伊勢の海の海人のあまたのまてかたにおりやとるらん浪の花なみ

ise no umi no
ama no amata no
matekata ni
ori ya toruran
nami no hananami
By the sea at Ise
Crowds of fisher-girls
A’waiting
To be plucked –
A row of blossoms on the waves.

is written with te, but ‘crowds of fisher-girls’ seems to suit the conception of burning seaweed. The Right still find fault: in the Muroyama Lay Priest’s Collection in a Tortoiseshell Mirror, Hideaki’s poem is written with mate. In addition, it evokes a scene of evaporation pools, and is there such an activity as scattering salt on the shore? In response: the salt kilns are on the shore. It is they which are scattered. People from the area have told me as much. In addition, mate could mean looking for razor clams (mategai) in the sand. And the girls would not be completely occupied doing this. In response, the Right: that is not the only possible meaning of mate. When the fisher-girls are busy with their work, and have no respite from it, one uses itoma nami. The Left have no criticisms to make of the Right’s poem.

In judgement: the Left’s poem, with the initial ama no makukata, followed by the final section ‘from the tumult of love is there little respite’ (koi no someki mo ito nakarikeri) fails to sound elegant. There should be no confusion over this issue. Lord Hide’aki’s poem in the Later Selection is plainly ‘a diver-girl does wait without surcease’ (ama no matekata itoma nami). On this matter, long ago when I was in attendance upon His Majesty, Emperor Sutoku, he presented me with the commentaries on problematic poems by a certain personage written as he remembered them, and His Majesty asked, ‘People say there are many errors in this text – is this true?’ to which I replied, ‘When it came to making things, there are errors in even those made by the wisest men of old. What you could call imperfect scholarship.’ In the midst of talking about this and that, I mentioned problems in the Later Selection, and that this matekata poem was written maku; I didn’t provide any commentary, just simply said, ‘This is matekata. The fact that there are texts which erroneously write maku have produced some doubt over this,’ and when people later heard that I had said this, his followers got confused and thought I meant maku was correct. ‘Without surcease’ (itoma nami) is particularly suitable for matekata. ‘Waiting’ (matekata) and ‘burning seaweed for salt’ (moshio yaku) are both things which fisher-girls do endlessly – there is no difference between them. Both the Collection of a Myriad Leaves and the Tales of Ise say ‘fisher-girls without surcease’ (ama no itoma nashi). Nowhere does it say ‘scattering’ (makukata). In addition, the shore where they burn seaweed for salt on the beach (hama ni shio yaku kata) bears no resemblance to scattering salt (shio o maku). Moreover, as for the Ise Virgin Consort’s poem, there are many texts which have mate, and any versions of both this anthology and of the Later Selection, too, which have maku are erroneous. There is also a poem in reply to the Consort’s poem ‘Scattered on the shore, / Raking, the fisher-girls gather / Sea-salt weed: / Where does the smoke / Rise to, I ask, my love?’ There are many who argue that this should be maku, but it simply means that the fisher-girls are busy. Matekata and itomanaki koto mean the same thing. In conclusion, we must have regard to the Later Selection poem. Hide’aki has left only a few poems, but was surrounded by poets of peerless talent. Whichever way one looks at it, he was not one to produce an erroneous poem. The Right’s poem has nothing special about it, but as the Left uses ‘from the tumult of love is there little respite’ which sounds old-fashioned and unpleasant, and there is no evidence that makukata is correct, the Right wins.

Love X: 14

Left (Win)
我恋はあまのさかてを打ち返し思ときてや世をも恨みん

wa ga koi wa
ama no sakate o
uchikaeshi
omoi tokite ya
yo o mo uramin
My love:
With my diver girl’s hands raised to heaven
I cast back
Knowing of these pains of love
The world is all despair!

Lord Kanemune
1167

Right
衣手はしほたるれどもみるめをばかづかぬ海人となりにけるかな

koromode wa
shiotaruredomo
mirume o ba
kazukanu ama to
narinikeru kana
Though my sleeves
Are drenched, as
Unable to catch a glimpse of seaweed
Like a hapless diver-girl
Have I become.

Lord Tsune’ie
1168

The Right state: there are various possible interpretations for ama no sakate. In addition, is it appropriate to compose a poem from the diver-girl’s perspective? The Left state: there is nothing to mention in the Right’s poem.

In judgement: the Left’s ama no sakate is not a particularly good expression, but I see no fault in composing from the diver-girl’s perspective. In recent times, people have come up with alternate interpretations for the phrase, but I see no reason for them. This old fool long ago composed a poem in this way. So I wonder, should I criticise my own composition? There is evidence for this in the Tales of Ise, and other texts, too. However, in poetry competitions, ama no sakate fails to sound appropriate. The Right’s diver-girl with sleeves drenched by the tide and unable to harvest seaweed seems incapable. She cannot be a genuine diver-girl. The Left’s sakate is not that elegant, but the girl is genuine. It wins.

Love X: 13

Left (Win)
潮風の吹こす海人の苫ひさし下に思ひのくゆる頃かな

shiokaze no
fukikosu ama no
toma hisashi
shita ni omoi no
kuyuru koro kana
The tidewinds
Blow across the fisher girl’s
Rush-woven roof;
Below, in fires of passion
Does she smoulder…

A Servant Girl
1165

Right
みさごゐる磯良が崎にあさりする海士もみるめを猶求めけり

misago iru
isora ga saki ni
asarisuru
ama mo mirume o
nao motomekeri
Ospreys hunt
Along the strand at Isora;
Digging for clams,
The fisherman, a seaweed-strewn chance at love
Is seeking still…

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office
1166

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

In judgement: the Left’s ‘blow across the fisher girl’s rush-woven roof’ (fukikosu ama no toma hisashi) is certainly elegant. The Right’s ‘ospreys hunt along the strand at Isora’ (misago iru isora ga saki) seems a kind of overblown style, yet the Left seems particularly pleasant in form. I make it the winner.

Love X: 12

Left (Tie)
一夜のみ宿かる人の契とて露結び置く草枕かな

hitoyo nomi
yado karu hito no
chigiri tote
tsuyu musubioku
kusamakura kana
For just a single night
Will he rent my lodging and
Make a brief bond of love;
Dewdrops tangled with
My grassy pillow…

A Servant Girl
1163

Right
結びけん契もつらし草枕待つ夕暮も宿を頼みて

musubiken
chigiri mo tsurashi
kusamakura
matsu yūgure mo
yado o tanomite
Tangled
Brief bonds are chill;
With a grassy pillow
She awaits the evening and
A request for lodging.

Takanobu
1164

Left and Right state together: both poems have only a faint conception of entertainers.

In judgement: both Left and Right have a ‘grassy pillow’ (kusamakura) and a faint conception of entertainers, as the Gentlemen have already stated. They seem to me to somehow resemble the poem by the Left in Round Nine. The Left’s ‘dewfall drops tangled’ (tsuyu musubioku) and the Right’s ‘brief bonds are chill’ (chigiri mo tsurashi) are both elegant. Once again, I make this a tie.