Spring I: 9

Left (Win).


shigaraki no
toyama wa yuki mo
kienishi o
fuyu o nokosu ya
tani no yūkaze
From Shigaraki’s
Mountains, the snow
Has gone, yet
Does winter remain in
The valleys’ evening breeze?





haru kaze wa
fuku to kikedomo
shiba no ya wa
nao samushiro ni
i koso nerarene
The spring breeze
Blows, I hear, yet
My twig-roofed hut is
Yet chill: beneath a threadbare blanket
I cannot fall asleep.

Lord Tsune’ie


Shunzei states the first part of the Left’s poem is ‘elevated in tone’, but that the final line is problematic: a reference to ‘morning’ might have been better, or just to the ‘valleys’ breeze’, but this would not have fitted the syllable count. If the intention had been to add a sense of ‘darkness’ to the poem, an expression such as ‘the valleys, shadowed by the crags’ would have been better. As for the Right’s poem, the image of the ‘twig-roofed hut’ is lonely, but the overlaying of the ‘cold’ with ‘blanket’ (in the original poem ‘samushiro’ is a play-on-words with both senses) is pedestrian, and so the Left’s poem, despite its faults, is adjudged the winner.

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