Spring I: 18

Left (Tie).


ko no ma yori
hikage ya hana o
matsu no iwane no
mizu no shiranami
Between the trees,
The sunlight these blooms
Does seem to drench:
The pine-rooted crags’
White-capped waves of water.

A Servant Girl


Right (Tie).


haru kureba
kōri o harau
tanikaze no
oto ni zo tsuzuku
yamakawa no mizu
Spring is come, so
Sweeping ‘way the ice,
The wind through the valley
Brings a constant sound:
Water in the mountain streams.



Neither team have any comments to make about the other’s poem.

Shunzei comments that both poems sound ‘excellent’, but the Left’s begins ‘between the trees’ (ko no ma yori) and then continues to mention ‘pines’: are the ‘trees’ pines? Or, are they a different type? Whichever is the case, this is, perhaps, a ‘compositional error’. As for the Right’s poem, the expression, ‘sweeping ‘way the ice/The wind through the valley’ (kôri o harau/tanikaze no) is ‘charming’, but he ‘greatly dislikes’ the use of tsuzuku. (It’s unclear why he says this, as he gives no further explanation: the commentators suggest that it could be that the word is too conventional, or that it was generally considered more attractive in poetry to have something ending, rather than continuing, or simply that he didn’t like the way the poem was read out on this occasion!) Given that both poems are ‘equally excellent’ , and that the Left is ‘unclear’ over its trees, a tie has to be awarded.

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