ato ni sekioku
taki tsu se o
makoto ni otosu
wa ga namida kana
Traces place a barrier, but
A cataract in torrents
Truly drops –
The Right state: the Left’s poem is rather casual about the person whom he loves. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults we can identify.
In judgement: the Gentlemen of the Right have stated that the Left seems somewhat blasé about the object of his affections, and this is certainly true. The Right’s poem, though, says that the poet is looking at a painting on something like a folding screen, where a waterfall is depicted, and he weeps in reality – this seems like he was simply moved by the painting. I feel that there is a stronger conception of love in seeing a painting and fondly recalling the face of one now long gone, than there is in being moved by the sight of a mountain stream.
The Right state: ‘This love; at Suma’ (omoi o suma) sounds antiquated. In addition, how can one be placed by the barrier? The Left state: in the Right’s poem what is the ‘passing grief’ (suguru nageki)?
In judgement: the Gentlemen of the Right’s criticism of wondering ‘how one can be placed by the barrier’ suggests they have never been installed as Barrier Wardens! Both ‘at Suma by the barrier’ and ‘Meeting Hill Barrier’ are of the same quality. The round should tie.
The Right state: we are unfamiliar with the expression ‘Oyamada Barrier’ (oyamada no seki). The Left state: it sounds as if it is tears that are ceaseless at the Barrier at Kiyomi.
In judgement: the Left’s poem is stylistically tasteful, but with only ‘can a meeting, like the waters round the rice seedlings’ (au koto wa nawashiro mizu) the conception of love is weak is it not? The Right’s poem metaphorically has tears ceaseless at the Barrier at Kiyomi, and with the ta present, I accept the Left’s point to a certain extent, but this type of thing is not unusual in metaphorical poems. In addition, there is little reason to imagine the waters round the rice-seedlings being blocked. As it has a stronger focus on Love, the Right wins.
At around the the time the Kanpyō Emperor took Holy Orders, ladies were only permitted to serve him from beyond his curtains, and being unable to approach him closely, she wrote this and fastened it to his screen.
kage Fumu bakari
tare ka nakoso no
seki o suweken
If I were to approach,
I would simply step upon your shadow;
I am so close, yet
Who is it Nakoso – Come not –
That barrier has placed between us?
The Kohachijō Miyasudokoro 小八条御息所
[Minamoto no Sadako 源貞子]