Love V: 13

Left (Tie).

kokoro no koi o
shirube nite
mada minu mine o
ikue koyuran
Crossing distances, with
Our hearts’ love
As a guide;
How many unseen peaks
Must I yet cross…

Lord Ari’ie.


hodo o kiku ni mo
kokoro no michi zo
mazu mayoinuru
The distance I must travel:
When I ask how far it is,
More and more
Does my heart upon the path
Begin by wandering lost.

Lord Takanobu.

The Right state: we wonder about the appropriateness of the expression ‘our hearts’ love’ (kokoro no koi)? The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.

In judgement: the Left’s ‘our hearts’ love’ is something I am completely unaccustomed to hearing. The Right’s poem does have ‘my heart upon the path’ (kokoro no michi), but the use of ‘more and more’ (itodoshiku) means it is difficult to make it a winner. The round should tie.

2 thoughts on “Love V: 13”

  1. Could you please explain what “the Right state”, “the Left state” and “In judgement” refer to? Is this a transcript of the referee’s pronouncement or your own personal interpretation?

    1. The contest is between two teams, divided into the Left and the Right. After each round’s poems were recited, they would be critiqued by the opposing team, and the comments noted down. These, as well as the poems, were sent to Fujiwara no Shunzei, a famous poet and critic, for his judgement on whether the poems tied, or one was the winner that round. So, after the poems you have a translation of the teams’ and Shunzei’s judgement at the time.

Leave a Reply to temca Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *