Summer I: 3

Left (Tie).


iro kaenu
yowai wa shirazu
natsu kodachi
midori wa matsu ni
Are their hues unchanging
Through the ages – that I do no know;
Summer clustered trees’
Green on the pines
Will alter not!

Lord Suetsune.


Right (Tie).


aki o mo shiranu
kaede kana
tokiwa no iro o
shibashi nusumite
They’ll be found out!
All unknowing of the autumn are
The maple trees;
The eternal pine trees’ hue
Steal, if only briefly…



The Right simply say, ‘The Left’s poem contains major faults,’ while the Left reply, ‘The Right’s poem’s “maple trees” (kaede kana) and “Steal, if only briefly” (shibashi nusumite) are vulgar in the extreme!’ (By this they mean that nusumu (‘steal’) is inappropriate for poetry, as is the impression given that the maples have volition.)

Shunzei comments, ‘That the Left’s poem contains faults has already been mentioned by the Right. The Right’s poem though has the form of an eccentric poem, and one must wonder about granting sensitivity to maple trees, so the round must tie.’

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