The Right state: we cannot grasp the sense of the Left’s use of ‘until’ (made). The Left state: the Right’s poem is certainly not easy to understand on hearing.
In judgement: is not the use of ‘until’ (made) simply because it is appropriate to conclude a poem with that syllable? I can see nothing problematic with the use of ‘beating against my window’ (mado uchisusamu) in the Right’s poem. Thus, I make the Right the winner.
The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to mention. The Left state: we wonder about the appropriateness of ‘now’s the time to dampen them’ (ima wa to nuren).
In judgement: ‘Feeling like an ancient’ (okina sabi) ‘now’s the time to dampen them’ (ima wa to nuren) does not sound like it fits formally with ‘but I regret it not!’ (mi wa oshikaranu). The Left, in addition to sounding like it has no faults, has ‘this parting is not; now it is’ (aranu wakare mo ima wa tote), which certainly sounds right. It is superior.
The Right state: the sense of the Left’s poem is difficult to grasp on hearing. The Left state: the expression ‘forced to be’ (semete) seems out of place in the context of the Right’s poem.
In judgement: The Left’s poem, just as was said of Kisen’s poetry – that it was ‘obscure of diction and indefinite from beginning to end’ – seems to be in just such a style. The Right’s poem, while it does not, in fact, sound like a suitable context for ‘forced to be’ (semete), provides a profound conception in ‘falling on my sleeves’ (sode ni ochikuru). The Right should win.
The Gentlemen of the Right state: if the Left allude to the poem ‘At the dawning / How cruel it seemed / To part’, then this poem refers to the cruelty of a lover, but their poem suggests that the moon is the cruel one. Is this appropriate? In response: ‘At the dawning / How cruel it seemed’ can also be interpreted as referring to the moon. The Gentlemen of the Left state: the Right use the diction ‘fond’ (nasake), but the sense of this does not follow in the poem.
In judgement: the Left builds on the poem which starts ‘At the dawning / How cruel it seemed / To part, but’ and then says more than the lover’s heartlessness, ‘The fading moon / Cared not at all.’ So, given that this is the case, it’s not really saying anything different from ‘No more will I care for the moon!’ As for the Right, it sounds as if the lover’s fondness appears in the ‘dream’ (yume), but the final section seems good. The Right’s poem is somewhat superior.
The Right state: the use of the question in the Left’s poem, means that the comparison is not made sufficiently forcefully. The Left state: we find no faults worth mentioning in particular in the Right’s poem.
In judgement: neither poem seems to have any qualities which make them worthy of a win, or a loss.
The Right query whether it is possible to draw an association between ‘Cathay robes’ and snipe? The Left wonder about the usage of’lonely reverie as beating wings’.
Shunzei’s judgement: The criticisms from both teams are ones I have encountered before. As the poet has used ‘My sleeve – from which the snipe’ (sode yori shigi), and ‘a hut at Susono’ (susono no io), it requires the use of ‘Cathay robes’ (kara koromo) – there is no more to it than that. As for the Right, saying ‘Snipe start from the fields’ (shigi tatsu nobe) and ‘All night long in lonely reverie as beating wings time and again’ (yowa no aware mo momohagaki) – there is no fault to be found here, either. However, saying ‘My sleeve – from which the snipe’ is better. It must win.