From the poetry contest in 1500 rounds.
minu hito o matsu no kokage no kokemushiro nao shikishima ya yamato nadeshiko For a man unseen She pines in the shadow of the trees On a mossy bed for Her coverlet, the isles that make Yamato – a pink!
Kūnaikyō, in service to Former Emperor Gotoba
shiratsuyu zo shimo to narikeru fuyu no yo wa ama no kawa sae mizu kōrikeri Silver dewdrops Have turned to frost On this winter’s night Even the River of Heaven’s Waters have frozen.
fuyu no umi ni furi’iru yuki ya soko ni ite haru tatsu nami no hana to sakuran Upon the sea in winter, Falling down, is the snow: Does it rest upon the bed and With the waves breaking in springtime Bloom into blossom?
A poem from the Poetry Contest held by the Empress Dowager during the Reign of the Kanpyō Emperor.
kimi koFuru namida no toko ni mitinureba mi wo tukusi to zo ware Fa narinuru Loving you With tears my bed Has completely filled, so A channel buoy, exhausted, Have I become.
Fujiwara no Okikaze
au koto ya koyoi koyoi to kayou ma ni sora wasureshite tsukihi henikeri I wonder will we meet Tonight, maybe tonight, I think, and While I’m on my way, Forgetful of the skies, Days and months have passed me by.
Kuninobu, the Minamoto Middle Counsellor
ayamushiro oto naru made mo koizushite madaki ni toko o wasurubeshi ya wa My patterned blanket Lies far away, and yet Lacking love How swiftly my bed Might you be able to forget?
Daishin, in service to His Former Majesty
yume no nochi munashiki toko wa araji kashi aki no no naka mo koishikarikeri After a dream of you The emptiness of my bed I feel not, I think, for Amid the autumn meadows I do love you still.
momijiba no tamareru kari no namida ni wa aki no tsuki koso kage yadoshikere The scarlet leaves Clog the goose Tears, where It I the autumn moon’s Light finds lodging.
Composed as a love poem.
yomosugara mono’omoFu koro wa akeyaranu neya no Fima saFe turenakarikeri Night after night, Sunk in gloomy thoughts which Never lift, The time spent in my bed Is tedious, indeed!
Love on Waking from Sleep 寝覚恋
koiwaburu hito o shi yume ni au to miru nezame kurushiki sayo no toko kana Feeling all the pains of love, When in my dreams, with her A meeting do I see, then Waking brings only pain To my bed this night so brief!
harukaze no nao samushiro o kasaneba ya tabi no yodoko wa sae mo koso sure The spring wind is Yet so cold, threadbare blankets Might I lay on My journey-bed, but Feel the chill all the more!
wasurezu wa nareshi sode mo ya kōruramu nenu yo no toko no shimo no samushiro If she should forget me not, Would those oh so familiar sleeves, too, Freeze solid? In bed on a sleepless night Frost forms on my chilly blankets…
Lord Sada’ie 1139
wakete koso naka yori chiri wa tsumorinure koi no yamai ni shizumu samushiro Split down The middle, dust Has piled up! Sunk in the sickness Of love upon this blanket!
Lord Takanobu 1140
Left and Right together state: we find no faults to mention.
In judgement: the conception of being lost in thought of another’s sleeves ‘in bed on a sleepless night frost forms on my chilly blankets’ (
nenu yo no toko no shimo no samushiro) is certainly elegant. The scene in the Right’s poem, with the blanket divided in half, with one covered with dust, and the other where the speaker lies lovesick, is distasteful and I do not find it appealing, so thus, the Left wins.
kimi to wa ga neshi samushiro no chiri nareba katami ga tera ni uchi mo harawazu My love and I Did sleep upon these blankets, so Even the dust there Is a memento – I cannot brush it away!
Lord Suetsune 1135
hitorine no toko no samushiro kuchinikeri namida wa sode o kagiru nomi ka wa Sleeping solo on My bed’s blankets, They have rotted away; Tears on more than sleeves Have that effect…
The Right state: ‘did sleep’ (
neshi) is particularly unimpressive. The Left state: ‘more than sleeves’ ( sode o kagiru) is, perhaps, over-definite.
In judgement: in the Left’s poem, despite ‘did sleep upon these blankets’ (
neshi samushiro) referring to something which definitely exists, it still sounds as if there is not much poetic expression in the poem. ‘Is a memento’ ( katami ga tera) fails to resemble ‘for blossom viewing’ ( hanami ga tera). As for the Right’s poem, I certainly would not say that ‘tears on more than sleeves have that effect’ ( namida wa sode o kagiru nomi ka wa) is over-definite. It is somewhat difficult to make out on hearing, but the configuration is poetic, indeed, so the Right should win, it seems.