The Right state that the Left’s poem is ‘difficult to understand completely’ [tashikani kokoroegatashi]. The Left find no fault with the Right’s poem.
Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘even my dreams are with frost’ (yumeji mo shimo ni) sounds pleasant [yoroshiku kikoehaberu]. The Right’s ‘drenched with dew’ (tsuyu okikomuru) is elegant in configuration [sugata wa yū ni kikoehaberu], but it is unclear: is it dew turned to frost being drenched by dew? The Left must win.
The Right simply say that the Left’s poem is ‘good’. The Left have no criticisms of the Right’s poem.
Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘dawntime moon’ (ariake no tsuki) and the Right’s ‘early evening moon’ are both deeply moving; the Left, continuing with ‘at the farthest reach of fields before my gates, the mists are clearing’ (kadota no sue wa kiri harete) is particularly fine, I feel. ‘Sinking amongst the waves of rice-ears’ (honami ni shizumu) is certainly technically proficient, and yet lacks a certain profundity. And yet, the initial ‘By the distant mountains’ (yama tōki) show a true depth. It should win.
The Right state that the Left’s ‘Blowing ‘cross the field before my gates’ (kadota fuku) is grating on the ear. In addition, ‘should one really expect an answer from a house?’ The Left simply say that they find the Right’s poem ‘good’.
Shunzei’s judgement: The Gentlemen of the Right have correctly identified two faults with the Left’s poem. The Right’s poem, on the other hand, in both diction and sentiment, is extremely charming, and the final section, in particular is most profound in form. I must make it the winner.
The Right complain that the Left’s poem ‘appears to be expressing somewhat outré sentiments’. The Left state on the other hand that the Right’s poem is ‘not bad’.
Shunzei’s judgement: the type of emotional import expressed in the Left’s poem is superlative. In The Tales of Ise, after all, there is the section on ‘gathering fallen ears of rice’ – most charming! To say that this is outré suggests a deficiency of understanding. The Right’s poem, too, conveys an emotional message. I must wonder about the use of ‘Not deep at all within’ (fukakaranu), but still, the round should tie.
The Right find no fault with the Left’s poem this round. The Left wonder about the suitability of the phrase ‘folk within warding’ (hito wo moru), to which the Right respond that the expression carries the sense of wakefulness.
Shunzei’s judgement: the Left has the sound of bird clappers jointly guarding the fields, the Right, the sound of rice stirred by the autumn wind rousing folk in their huts – both poems display a particular skill in terms of form, but perhaps at the expense of feeling. Furthermore, I am unable to apprehend the Right’s ‘rice fronds; the folk within warding’. The Left wins, by a small margin.
The Right state that they are left wondering why, by the first line of the Left’s poem. The Left have no criticisms of the Right’s poem.
Shunzei’s judgement: The Left faintly hears the sound of a bird clapper from distant mountain fields. The Right’s poem is a from a dwelling among the fields. Moreover, ‘blows on and on’ (fukitsuzuku) is forceful, indeed. It must win.