Tag Archives: axe handle

Teishi-in ominaeshi uta’awase 13

〔   〕むつれなつれむなぞもあやなてにとりつみてしばしかくさじ[1]

mutsure na tsuremu
nazo mo ayana
te ni toritsumite
shibashi kakusaji
How I long to stay fondly with you,
So why, indeed, should
You be picked, and
Briefly fail to hide yourself…


These poems spell out ominaeshi at the beginning of each line.


ono no e wa
mina kuchinikeri
nani mo sede
heshi hodo o dani
shirazu zarikeru
My axe handles
Have all rotted away!
Doing nothing,
Of the passing time completely
Unaware, have I been.


[1] The initial line of this poem is missing from the available original texts of the contest, however, given that this is a kutsukamuriuta on maidenflowers (ominaeshi), it must have both begun and ended with o, like poems 23 and 24, and been a similar type of phrase (‘a flower picked’ oru hana o をる花を; ‘those who picked you’ oru hito o をる人を) (Miki et al. 2019, 94).

SIS XX: 1339

When Lord Tamemasa sponsored a sutra reading at the Fumon Temple, on the following day, everyone departed all together; when she was leaving Ono, she noticed how charming the blossom was and composed:


takigi koru
koto Fa kinoFu ni
tukinisi wo
iza wono no e Fa
koko ni kutasan
Gathering kindling,
Did you exhaust yourself, but
Will your axe handle
Rot here, I wonder?

The Mother of Master of the Crown Prince’s Household Office Michitsuna

KYS I: 48

Composed on being told of someone being delayed by the blossom in the mountains.


wono no e Fa
ko no moto nite ya
Faru o kagiranu
sakura nariseba
Would his axe handle
Beneath the trees
Rot away, I wonder,
Were in seasons other than spring
The cherries to bloom?

Ōnakatomi no Kin’naga (1071-1138)

Love III: 25

Left (Win).

sue made to
iishi bakari ni
yado mo wa ga na mo
kuchi ya hatenan
‘Until the very end,’
You simply said, but
A field of cogon grass
Surrounds my house; my name, too,
Will it wither away…?

A Servant Girl


ono no e mo
toshi heru hodo wa
shiru mono o
nado wa ga koi no
kutsuru yo mo naki
Even my axe handle,
Endures through the passing years,
I know it, but
Why is it that this love
Does not rot from this world?


Neither poem has any errors.

In judgement: ‘My house; my name, too’ (yado mo wa ga na mo) sounds better than ‘Why is it that this love’ (nado wa ga koi). The Left wins.

Spring III: 6

Left (Tie).


ono no e o
kakute ya hito wa
yamaji oboyuru
haru no sora kana
‘His axe haft:
Is this how he
Let it rot away?’
I wonder on the mountain paths
Under the springtime skies.

Lord Kanemune.


Right (Tie).


haru no hi wa
nada no shioya no
amabito mo
itoma arite ya
In the springtime sun
At Nada, the salt-making
Fisher-folk, too,
Have time to spare, and
Live with it heavy on their hands…



Both teams say they can find nothing to criticise in the other’s poem.

Shunzei agrees, saying, ‘You gentlemen have already stated that there is no reason to fault either poem. The round must be a tie.’


Sent to someone whom he used to visit often to play go when he was in Tsukushi, after his return to the capital.


Furusato Fa
misi goto mo arazu
wono no e no
kutisi tokoro zo
The old place
Is not as I remember;
My axe handle
in the place
Where I long to be.

Ki no Tomonori