Spring III: 18

Left (Win).


momo no hana
eda sashikawasu
kage nareba
nami ni makasen
kyō no sakazuki
Peach blossoms
Thrust from the bough
Spreading shade, so
To the waves I shall entrust
My wine-cup today.

Lord Kanemune.




sakazuki no
nagare totomo ni
kyō no hana fuku
haru no yamakaze
With the wine-cups’
Scent seems to come:
Blowing through the blossoms today is
The mountains’ breath of spring.



The Right state that it is ‘difficult to find any imperfections in the Left’s poem,’ while the Left say that the Right’s ‘blowing through the blossoms’ (hana fuku) is ‘grating on the ear.’ (They probably make this comment because hana fuku sounded too close to the verb hanafuku which had the rather prosaic meaning of ‘sneeze’!)

Shunzei’s judgement is, ‘The Left have stated that the Right’s hana fuku grates on the ear, but it would seem to be following the spirit of the lines:

Gently blows the breeze in early dawn;
A mouth starts to smile.

However, as has been said, there are no imperfections in the Left’s poem, as so it should win.’ (According to the commentators, ‘a wordless mouth’ was a metaphor used for blossom, although the source of the lines Shunzei quotes is now obscure.)

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