Summer I: 23

Left (Tie).


nao yamakage ni
yowa no tsukikage
Upon the Ōi River,
Yet beneath the mountain’s shadow are
Cormorant boats,
Impossible to avoid,
Within the midnight moonlight.

A Servant Girl.


Right (Tie).


nanase no yodo o
kudashi mo hatede
akenu kono yo wa
Down Matsura River’s
Seven swifts and stills
The cormorant boats,
Descent unfinished,
Find dawn ending night.

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right have two criticisms of the Left’s poem: ‘First, are cormorants used on moonlit nights? Moreover, why continue on from the “mountain’s shadow” (yamakage) with a moonlit night?’ In turn, the Left query, ‘Why continue on from “seven swifts and stills” (nanase no yodo) with cormorant boats?’

Shunzei comments, ‘The defects of the Left’s poem have already been adequately identified by the gentlemen of the other team. The Right’s sequence “Seven swifts and stills the cormorant boats” certainly seems poor. Furthermore, “dawn ending night” (akenu kono yo wa) has a somewhat pretentious air. There is nothing much to distinguish between them, and the round should tie.’

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