Tag Archives: blossom

Winter I: 15

Left.

色いろの花ゆへ野邊に立出でし眺めまでこそ霜枯にけれ

iroiro no
hana yue nobe ni
tachi’ideshi
nagame made koso
shimogarenikere
Many were the shades
Of blossom in the fields
I went to see;
Even that view, now, is completely
Burned by frost.

Lord Ari’ie.

509

Right (Win).

冬更くる野邊を見るにも思出る心のうちは花ぞ色いろ

fuyu fukuru
nobe o miru ni mo
omoi’izuru
kokoro no uchi wa
hana zo iroiro
In the depths of winter
Gazing o’er the fields
What I recall
Within my heart
Are the blossoms’ many hues.

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.

510

The Right wonder about the appropriateness of having a ‘view’ (nagame) of frost burn. The Left suggest that ‘depths of winter’ sounds a poor expression [kikiyokarazu] [because ‘depths of night’ was a more standard usage].

Shunzei’s judgement: Both poems refer to the many colours (iroiro) of the blooms of autumn, and this is certainly not lacking in taste [yūnarazaru ni wa arazu]. When gazing over the frost-burned winter fields, saying ‘even that view’ (nagame made) is not a fault as such [toga nakarubekeredomo], but I feel it would be better to avoid encompassing everything within a ‘view’. On ‘depths of winter’ (fuyu fukuru), we have the same old opinion that it ‘sounds poor’ but, I ask you, what sounds poor about it? What is to be criticised in ‘depths of winter’? As a piece of diction, ‘depths’ (fukuru) can be used about anything. Thus, the Right must win.

Autumn III: 18

Left (Win).

雲の上に待來し今日の白菊は人の詞の花にぞ有ける

kumo no ue ni
machikoshi kyō no
shiragiku wa
hito no kotoba no
hana ni zo arikeru
Above the clouds
Long have we waited for this day, when
The white chrysanthemums
Are the words in which folk
Blossom forth!

A Servant Girl.

455

Right.

今日といへば八重咲く菊を九重に重ねし跡もあらはれにけり

kyō to ieba
yae saku kiku o
kokonoe ni
kasaneshi ato mo
arawarenikeri
On this day
Upon the eight-fold blooming chrysanthemums,
A nine-fold layer

Was laid – a trace of it
Appearing…

Nobusada.

456

The Right have no criticisms to make of the Left’s poem. The Left state that the Right’s ‘Upon the eight-fold blooming chrysanthemums, a nine-fold layer’ (yae saku kiku o kokonoe ni) is lifted wholesale from an earlier famous poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: Both Left and Right charmingly express the conception [kokoro wa okashikuhaberu] of the Chrysanthemum Festival, but the Left’s ‘Are the words in which folk blossom forth!’ (hito no kotoba no hana ni zo arikeru) has a slightly better air about it at present.

Summer II: 13

Left.

片山の垣根の日影ほのみえて露にぞうつる花の夕顔

katayama no
kakine no hikage
honomiete
tsuyu ni zo utsuru
hana no yūgao
Facing the single mountainside
In evening sunlight upon the fence
Faintly seen,
Glistening with dew,
Is a bloom of moonflower.

A Servant Girl.

265

Right (Win).

折てこそ見るべかりけれ夕露に紐とく花の光ありとは

orite koso
mirubekarikere
yū tsuyu ni
himo toku hana no
hikari ari to wa
Plucked, that
I might gaze upon her,
Touched with evening dew,
Her belt undoing, this blossom
Is lustrous, indeed!

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.

266

The Right wonder whether the Left’s poem, ‘lacks the emotional import of the topic [dai no kokoro kasuka ni ya], despite the mention of moonflowers?’ The Left counter that, ‘The Right’s poem simplistically recalls The Tale of Genji [genji no monogatari bakari o omoeru]– is this appropriate in a poetry contest [uta’awase no akashi to nasu ni, ikaga]?’

Shunzei states, ‘The Left certainly does lack the emotional import of the topic. Moreover, it does not use the expression “moonflower blossom” (yūgao no hana), but “bloom of moonflower” (hana no yūgao). This, too, is contrary to the topic [dai no mama narade] and, I have to say, an unusual choice of expression. The Right’s poem does simply refer to The Tale of Genji, but in form it cannot be said to be anything less than superb [utazama yū narazaru ni wa arazaru]. It is superior to a “bloom of moonflower”.’

Summer I: 11

Left (Tie).

夏山の草葉のたけぞ知られぬる春見し小松人し引かずは

natsuyama no
kusaba no take zo
shirarenuru
haru mishi komatsu
hito hikazu wa
Summer in the mountains, and
The grasses reach so high, that
Had they but known
In springtime, on the glimpsed pine-seedlings
Folk would have laid no hand…

Lord Sada’ie.

201

Right (Tie).

道もなき夏野の草の庵かな花にけがるゝ庭と見しまに

michi mo naki
natsuno no kusa no
iori kana
hana ni kegaruru
niwa to mishi ma ni
Within a trackless
Summer field does my grass
Hut stand now;
While on fallen blossom staining
My garden did I rest my gaze…

Jakuren.

202

The Right wonder, ‘Whether summer greenery recalls the mountains as much as it does the plains? The overall point of the poem seems difficult to grasp.’ The Left have no particular comments to make.

Shunzei states, ‘The gentlemen of the Right have already questioned the suitability of greenery in relation to mountains rather than the plains. In addition, what is one to make of blossom falling round a hut, as opposed to a mountain lodge. If the topic was “Field Lodges”, then there are some autumn blooms, but cherry and plum blossom, and the like, fail to fall that much on the plains. Thus, I would agree with the Right’s comments on the Left’s poem. The Right’s poem, though, lacks logic. The round must be a tie.’

Spring III: 30

Left (Tie).

吉野山花の故郷跡たえてむなしき枝に春風ぞ吹く

yoshino yama
hana no furusato
ato taete
munashiki eda ni
haru kaze zo fuku
Upon Mount Yoshino –
The home of blossom –
Footprints fade away;
Now purposeless, the branches,
Shudder in the winds of spring.

A Servant Girl.

179

Right (Tie).

山の端ににほひし花の雲消えて春の日數は有明の月

yama no ha ni
nioishi hana no
kumo kiete
haru no hikazu wa
ariake no tsuki
Along the mountains’ edge
The glow of blossom
Clouds has faded;
The numbered days of Spring,
Revealed by the dawntime moon.

Nobusada.

180

Both teams proclaim themselves moved by the other’s poem.

Shunzei, however, has this to say. ‘The Left’s poem contains “purposeless, the branches, shudder in the winds of spring” (munashiki eda ni harukaze zo fuku), and despite the fact that poems on Mount Yoshino have a somewhat old-fashioned air, and that one might wonder on which peaks it is such clouds of blossom remain, even these moss-covered sleeves have become thoroughly soaked with tears at the thought that the Way of poetry has not reached its end; the Right’s poem has “The numbered days of Spring, revealed by the dawntime moon” (haru no hikazu wa ariake no tsuki), and this has moved even this old heart to thoughts of such a dawning sky, so it is impossible to distinguish between the two in quality. Of old, Spring poems had style, indeed, and to think that such form and spirit still combine to torment the soul is something for which I am thoroughly grateful. Truly, these moss-covered sleeves have been drenched by both Left and Right!’

Spring III: 26

Left (Win).

花もみな散りぬる春は鶯の鳴く音ばかりにとまるなりけり

hana mo mina
chirinuru haru wa
uguisu no
naku ne bakari ni
tomaru narikeri
Every blossom
Fallen: of spring
The warbler’s
Song, alone,
Remains.

Lord Kanemune.

171

Right.

鶯も思かねたる聲すなりあすばかりなる春を恨みて

uguisu mo
omoikanetaru
koesu nari
asu bakarinaru
haru o uramite
The warbler, too,
Unable to endure
Lifts his voice in song;
That tomorrow alone
Is left of spring, he bitterly resents.

Lord Tsune’ie.

172

The Right suggest that the Left’s poem, ‘appears to have a great deal in common with the poem on the “dwelling does it seem,indeed!”’.

The Left indicate they have nothing to remark on in the Right’s poem.

Shunzei agrees with the Right, up to a point, ‘The beginning of the Left’s poem does, indeed, as the gentlemen of the Right say, recall the “dwelling” (Furusato), but its final section is truly marvellous. Simply ending with “spring, he bitterly resents” (haru o uramite), as does the Right’s poem, is worse than the Left’s old-fashioned beginning.’

Spring III: 25

Left (Tie).

はかなしやいつまで花の散らじとて春をとめたる景色なるらん

hakanashi ya
itsu made hana no
chiraji tote
haru o tometaru
keshiki naruran
How piteous!
That the blossom should never
Fall – the words
Cling on to spring,
Or so it seems…

Kenshō.

169

Right (Tie).

飽かざりし花のかたみと見る春をいま幾日かはあらんとすらん

akazarishi
hana no katami to
miru haru o
ima ikuka wa
aran to suran
Never surfeited of
Blossom are my memories
Of Spring;
Now, a few days:
Do only they remain?

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.

170

The Right say that the Left’s poem ‘gives the impression that Spring has passed and yet blossoms remain’ (meaning it’s unsuited to the topic, which is about the last days of spring), while the Left say the final line of the Right’s poem, ‘sounds weak.’

Shunzei disagrees, ‘The final section of the Right’s poem gives an emphatic impression. However, both ‘ should never’ (itsu made) and ‘now, a few days’ (ima ikuka wa) jointly have such a similar spirit [of spring shortly ending] that it is not possible to determine a winner or loser between the two poems.’

Spring III: 15

Left.

けふといへば岩間によどむ盃を待たぬ空まで花に酔ふらん

kyō to ieba
iwama ni yodomu
sakazuki o
matanu sora made
hana ni youran
Talking of today,
Caught in clefts between the rocks, yet
The wine cups’
Not awaiting, even the skies seem
Drunk on blossom.

Lord Ari’ie.

149

Right (Win).

花の色は入日を殘す木のもとに春も暮れゆく三日月の空

hana no iro wa
irihi o nokosu
ki no moto ni
haru mo kureyuki
mika tsuki no sora
The blossoms’ hues
Have caught the setting sun, while
Beneath the trees
Springtime dusk draws on,
A crescent moon within the sky.

Jakuren.

150

Both teams have no particular comments to make about the other’s poem.

Shunzei remarks, ‘Both poems are of similar quality, as has been mentioned by the gentlemen present, however, the Left’s poem is clearly in the spirit of “With blossom the heavens are drunk, in the season of plentiful peaches.” (A well known Chinese poem composed by Sugawara no Michzane.) But the Right’s “Springtime dusk draws on, a crescent moon” captures the light better, I think. Thus, it seems to be the winner.’

Spring III: 10

Left.

にほはずはふゞく空とぞ思はまし花散りまがふ志賀の山越え

niowazu wa
fuguku sora to zo
omowamashi
hana chirimagau
shiga no yamagoe
Were there no fragrance,
Wind-driven skies,
One would think,
Blossoms scattered all around
The path across the Shiga Mountains.

Lord Suetsune.

139

Right (Win).

道もせに花の白雪降りとぢて冬にぞかへる志賀の山越え

michi mo se ni
hana no shirayuki
furitojite
fuyu ni zo kaeru
shiga no yamagoe
The path narrows to naught,
A blizzard of blossom
Falling and settling:
Winter has come once more
To the path across the Shiga Mountains.

Nobusada.

140

The Right query the Left’s use of ‘wind-driven’ (fuguku), wondering whether it’s appropriate in poetry, while the Left have no criticisms to make of the Right’s poem.

Shunzei remarks testily that, ‘The Left appear to have regrettably little sense of how to compose on the topic of ‘the path across the Shiga Mountains’, an impression which could have been reversed if only ‘a mountain path’ (yama michi) had been mentioned. The Right’s ‘winter has come once more to the path across the Shiga Mountains’ (fuyu ni zo kaeru shiga no yamagoe), however, is charming. Thus, it must win.’