Tag Archives: cloud

Kinkai wakashū 2

Poems on the beginning of spring


kokonoe no
kumoi ni haru zo
ōuchiyama ni
kasumi tanabiku
In ninefold layers of
Cloud does springtime
Seem to rise;
Across Ōuchi Mountain[i]
Trails haze.


A kuzushiji version of the poem's text.
Created with Soan.

[i] Ōuchi Mountain (ōuchiyama 大内山) lies to the north of the Ninnaji 仁和寺 temple in the north-west of Kyoto, and was the site of a detached palace belonging to Emperor Uda 宇多 (866-931; r. 887-897).

Kanpyō no ōntoki kisai no miya uta’awase 75



otomego ga
hikage no ue ni
furu yuki wa
hana no magau ni
izure tagaeri
In the sunlight, with
The falling snow;
Such a blending of blossoms—
How do they differ?




chiru hana to nomi
furu yuki wa
fuyu no miyako no
kumo no chiru ka to
Quickly darkening with
Scattered blossom that is simply
Falling snow,
Is the capital in winter
Strewn with cloud?


Love VI: 24

Left (Win).

fukaki yo no
noki no shizuku o
nao amari nuru
sode no ame kana
Late at night,
From my eaves the droplets
I number up, but
Still much more drenching
Is the rainfall on my sleeves.

A Servant Girl.


kumo tozuru
yado no nokiba no
yū nagame
koi yori amaru
ame no oto kana
Closed in with cloud,
From my dwelling’s eaves
I gaze out in the evening;
Overwhelming my love
Is the sound of rain…


The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults. The Left state: we do not understand the Right’s poem at all.

In judgement: the Left’s poem commences with ‘late at night’ (fukaki yo no) and then continues with mention of raindrops – this sounds extremely effective. The Right’s poem, too, starts ‘closed in with cloud’ (kumo tozuru) and concludes with ‘the sound of rain’ (ame no oto kana), which sounds charming, but because the poem is said to be ‘incomprehensible’ or ‘grating on the ear’, despite being one with both a significant conception and an unusual sound, there is no reason for me to shoehorn in my own views, even if much has been overlooked, so this round I will leave it at, the Right is entirely incomprehensible and the Left without fault. Thus, the Left wins.

Shōji godo hyakushu 461


kumo tozuru
matsu no toboso ni
shiramu yo wa
hito koe tsukuru
tori dani mo nashi
Closed in with cloud
By my pinewood door
I know well this night
That to give a single chirp
There is not even one bird.

Fujiwara no Takazane

Shōji godo hyakushu

Love IV: 11


kumo kakari
kasanaru yama o
koe mo sezu
hedate masaru wa
akuru hi no kage
Trailed with cloud,
The layered mountains
I have not gone beyond, but
What stands between us most is
The light of the brightening sun.

Lord Sada’ie.

Right (Win).

isa inochi
omoi wa yowa ni
yūbe mo mataji
aki no akebono
I know not what’s to become of my life!
All my thoughts of love in the hours of night
Are quite exhausted, and
I cannot wait for evening
On this autumn dawn…


The Right state: from ‘Trailed with cloud’ (kumo kakari) to ‘The light of the brightening sun’ (akuru hi no kage), all is entirely unacceptable, is it not? The Left state: we wonder about the acceptability of ‘I know not what’s to become of my life’ (isa inochi).

In judgement: the Right have said that the Left’s poem is unacceptable from beginning to end, but can one really go so far as to say that? Furthermore, the Left query whether ‘I know not what’s to become of my life’, but I wonder whether I can recall this phrase being that bad. However, one is accustomed to saying that ‘this spring dawn’ (haru no akebono) is elegant, and although ‘this autumn dawn’ (aki no akebono) is a modern expression, the faults of the Left’s poem are particularly problematic, so the Right should win.