The Gentlemen of the Right state: how can love be dangerous? The Gentlemen of the Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.
In judgement: saying that the ‘paths of love are, at the end’ (koiji no sue) dangerous is perfectly commonplace. ‘Is only a withered field of cogon grass’ (hito mo kareno no asajiwara) seems to simply have taken the poem ‘Sedge fields lie / Around the estate of Fushimi, / All long overgrown; / He who passed across them / Has left no tracks at all…’ and swapped in ‘mount who once did cross it’ (kayoishi koma). Changing a man into a mount is discomposing, indeed. Again, the Left should win.
The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to mention. The Gentlemen of the Left state: the intial part of the Right’s poem is derived from an old poem, and so does the end!
In judgement: I wonder whether the cogon-grass (asajū), mentioned initially, is as clearly conceived as the ‘lawn’ (michishiba) mentioned at the end? The Right’s poem refers to ‘So full are my thoughts, what am I to do? With the autumn wind’, but reverses the beginning and end of that poem; it is extremely old-fashioned in style, but pleasant as it is plainly intended to be understood as a variant of its model. Thus, the Right wins over the combination of ‘cogon-grass’ and ‘lawn’.
Composed for a picture based on the Song of Everlasting Woe, for the scene where Xuanzong had returned home and the emperor was depicted weeping with insects calling from the withered cogon grass all around him.
asadi ga Fara to
yosugara musi no
ne nomi zo naku
My old home
With cogon grass is
All night the insects
Simply let forth their cries…