Both Left and Right together state: neither poem is bad.
In judgement: both poems seem elegant in configuration and diction, but the Right’s ‘girl from Naniwa’ (naniwame) raises the same issue as ‘diving girl’, only more so – there is not even evidence on this from inclusion in the Collection of Poems to Sing, is there? The Left’s ‘cleaving, they return; pillowed on the waves’ (yosete wa kaeru namimakura) really does seem like a pleasure girl, so I must say it is superior.
The Gentlemen of the Right state: how can love be dangerous? The Gentlemen of the Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.
In judgement: saying that the ‘paths of love are, at the end’ (koiji no sue) dangerous is perfectly commonplace. ‘Is only a withered field of cogon grass’ (hito mo kareno no asajiwara) seems to simply have taken the poem ‘Sedge fields lie / Around the estate of Fushimi, / All long overgrown; / He who passed across them / Has left no tracks at all…’ and swapped in ‘mount who once did cross it’ (kayoishi koma). Changing a man into a mount is discomposing, indeed. Again, the Left should win.
The Right state: it is certainly possible to say that the ‘bridge at Nagara’ has ‘rotted’ (kutsu), but there are, we think, no other examples of it ‘ceasing’ (tayu). The Left state: we wonder about the appropriateness of saying ‘love not a trace’ (koi ni ato nashi).
In judgement: both poems refer to ‘the bridge at Nagara’ and, as has been mentioned by the Gentlemen of the Right in their criticism, the Left uses ‘has ceased to be, yet’ (taeshikado); there are many poems using ‘rotted’, because this is what happens to the pillars of bridges. After this bridge ceased to be, the pillars would still be rotting away. If you have the bridge ‘being built’ (tsukuru nari), why would you not then have it ‘ceasing’? That being said, I am only accustomed to hearing ‘bridge pillars’ (hashibashira), and having only ‘pillars’ (hashira) sounds completely lacking in logic. The Right’s poem uses ‘love not a trace’ (koi ato nashi): it is entirely natural for a variety of different things not to leave a trace. The current criticism must be due to there not being a prior example of this usage, but it is particularly difficult to say this about the initial section of the poem. The Right wins.
The Right state that the Left’s initial line makes their poemsound like a reply. In addition, the final line is ‘overly forceful’ [itau tsuyoku]. The Left merely comment that the Right’s use of ‘sparrow’ (suzume) is ‘inappropriate’.
Shunzei’s judgement: Even though the Left’s poem is not a reply, starting with ‘I would go a’calling’ (toekashi na) is common in the reply style [zōtōtei]. In addition, ‘Winter Mornings’ is not a topic which one needs to approach obliquely. There are only the good and bad points of the poetry. ‘From underneath the eaves to the sparrows’ chirps have I grown accustomed’ (noki no uchi ni suzume no koe wa naruru) is not an expression much used about morning snow. However, the final section of the poem appears fine. ‘Sparrows’ chirps’ (suzume no koe) is, perhaps, somewhat colloquial [zoku no chikaku]. Despite the comment by the gentlemen of the Right that the final section of the Left’s poem is ‘overly forceful’, it is a better ‘Winter Morning’ poem.