Spring II: 18

Left.

春日には空にのみこそあがるめれ雲雀の床は荒れやしぬらん

haru hi ni wa
sora ni nomi koso
agarumere
hibari no toko wa
are ya shinuran
The springtime sun
Alone, into the skies
Does seem to lift
The skylark: his nest,
I wonder, if ‘tis in disarray?

Kenshō.

95

Right (Win).

子を思ふすだちの小野を朝行ばあがりもやらず雲雀鳴也

ko o omou
sudachi no ono o
asa yukeba
agari mo yarazu
hibari nakunari
Caring for her chick,
Starting from the nest into the meadow,
With the coming of the morn,
Without taking flight,
The skylark gives call.

Jakuren.

96

The Right team state that the initial and central stanzas of the Left’s poem are ‘grating on the ear’, while the Left snap back that they ‘don’t understand the meaning’ of ‘caring for her chick, starting from the nest’ (ko o omou sudachi), and moreover, having both ‘starting from the nest’ (sudachi) and ‘take flight’ (agari) in one poem is clumsy technique as the meanings are too similar.

Shunzei judges that the initial stanza of the Left’s poem is ‘truly awful’. And, ‘in general, from what we know of how skylarks live, there is no reason to expect that they would heedlessly fly off after fouling their nests. In spring, they raise their young in the fields, and when the evenings are warm, or the spring sun is bright, they remain flying in the sky and look down on their chicks from above. They are birds which swoop and soar. Thus, one cannot say that they heedlessly foul their nests. The Right is in keeping with the skylark’s nature, and in form the poem also appropriately poetic, but because of the distance of the first stanza from the last, it is possible that one might not grasp the sense of the poem on first hearing. “Starting from the nest” (sudachi) and “take flight” (agari) are, though, too similar. However, as the Left’s poem has an unpleasant line, and is contrary to the essence of skylarks, despite its faults, the Right’s poem must win.’

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