Tag Archives: cogon grass

Love VIII: 5

Left
人待ちし庭の淺茅生茂りあひて心にならす道芝の露

hito machishi
niwa no asajū
shigeriaite
kokoro ni narasu
michishiba no tsuyu
Awaiting him,
The cogon-grass in my garden
Has grown lush, indeed;
And I have taken to my heart
The dew that falls upon my lawn!

A Servant Girl
1029

Right (Win)
秋風になびく淺茅の色よりもかはるは人の心なりけり

akikaze ni
nabiku asaji no
iro yori mo
kawaru wa hito no
kokoro narikeri
With the autumn wind
Waves the cogon grass,
Colours
Changing less than her
Heart’s passions…

Ietaka
1030

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’.

GSIS IV: 270

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.

ふるさとは浅茅が原と荒れはてて夜すがら虫の音をのみぞ鳴く

Furusato Fa
asadi ga Fara to
areFatete
yosugara musi no
ne nomi zo naku
My old home
With cogon grass is
Entirely overgrown;
All night the insects
Simply let forth their cries…

Dōmei
道命

Love III: 25

Left (Win).
末までといひしばかりに浅茅原宿も我名も朽や果てなん

sue made to
iishi bakari ni
asajibara
yado mo wa ga na mo
kuchi ya hatenan
‘Until the very end,’
You simply said, but
A field of cogon grass
Surrounds my house; my name, too,
Will it wither away…?

A Servant Girl
769

Right.
斧の柄も年経る程は知る物をなど我恋の朽つる世もなき

ono no e mo
toshi heru hodo wa
shiru mono o
nado wa ga koi no
kutsuru yo mo naki
Even my axe handle,
Endures through the passing years,
I know it, but
Why is it that this love
Does not rot from this world?

Jakuren
770

Neither poem has any errors.

In judgement: ‘My house; my name, too’ (yado mo wa ga na mo) sounds better than ‘Why is it that this love’ (nado wa ga koi). The Left wins.

Autumn III: 22

Left.

蟲の音の弱るもしるく淺茅生に今朝は寒けくはだれ霜降る

mushi no ne no
yowaru mo shiruku
asajū ni
kesa wa samukeku
hadare shimo furu
The insects’ cries
Have plainly weakened;
Cogon grass, where
On this chilly morning
Patchy frost has fallen.

Lord Ari’ie.

463

Right.

思ふより又あはれは重ねけり露に霜置く庭の蓬生

omou yori
mata aware wa
kasanekeri
tsuyu ni shimo oku
niwa no yomogyū
I feel
Yet more sadness
Laid upon me:
Upon the dew has frost fallen
In my tangled mugwort garden…

Jakuren.

464

The Right find no fault with the Left’s poem. The Left wonder about the appropriateness of ‘upon the dew has frost fallen’ (tsuyu ni shimo oku).

The Right respond, ‘This refers to when frost falls upon something where dew has already fallen.’ In reply, the Left say, ‘Surely, it is when both of them fall together. We do wonder about frost falling on top of dew.’

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s poem has an unclear link between its initial and final sections. On the matter of the Right’s ‘frosty dew’, this has the same sense as in the Right’s poem in the previous round. The dew has frozen into frost, surely? However, as the Left’s poem is not worthy of a victory, the round must tie.

Autumn III: 6

Left (Win).

宇津の山越えし昔の跡古りて蔦の枯れ葉に秋風ぞ吹く

utsu no yama
koeshi mukashi no
ato furite
tsuta no kareba ni
akikaze zo fuku
Utsu Mountain,
Crossed in times of old by
Ruins, ageing; on
The withered ivy leaves
The winds of autumn are a’blowing…

A Servant Girl.

431

Right.

淺茅たつ庭の色だにあるものを軒端の蔦はうち時雨つゝ

asaji tatsu
niwa no iro dani
aru mono o
nokiba no tsuta wa
uchishiguretsutsu
The cogon-grass grows
In my garden, but the only hint of colour
Is in
The ivy by my eaves,
Wet with constant showers…

Jakuren.

432

As the previous round.

Shunzei’s judgement: Both Left and Right seem superb in form and diction [sugata kotoba wa yoroshiku miehaberu], but the Right’s ‘cogon-grass grows’ (asaji tatsu) is pretentious [yauyaushiku], and I wonder what to make [ikaga to oboehaberu] of the final ‘wet with constant showers’ (uchishiguretsutsu), but the conception [kokoro] of the Left’s ‘Utsu Mountain’, with its ‘ancient ruins’ brought back to memory by ‘on the withered ivy leaves the winds of autumn a’blowing’, is particularly tasteful [en]. Thus, the Left certainly wins.

Autumn II: 10

Left (Win).

夕さればそゝや下葉も安からで露は袂に荻の上風

yūsareba
soso ya shitaba mo
yasukarade
tsuyu wa tamoto ni
ogi no uwakaze
When the evening comes,
Rustling underleaves
Are restless;
Dewdrops on the sleeves:
Wind o’er the silver-grass.

Lord Ari’ie.

379

Right.

暮行けば野邊も一つに露滿ちて蟲の音になる庭の淺茅生

kureyukeba
nobe mo hitotsu ni
tsuyu michite
mushi no ne ni naru
niwa no asajū
When evening falls
The plains, too, are completely
Dew-drenched;
Insects sing from
The cogon grasses in my garden.

Ietaka.

380

The Right remark that ‘it is not clear what the “underleaves” (shitaba) belong to until the end of the poem’. The Left have a number of criticisms: ‘In the Right’s poem, it sounds as if the “cogon grass” (asaji) becomes “insects”. In addition, the topic of this poem is not “Garden Huts”. Furthermore, the poem lacks any expression conveying the emotional overtones of the topic – particularly with “the plains, too, are completely” (nobe mo hitotsu ni).’

Shunzei’s judgement: It is standard expression to begin a poem with ‘underleaves’, when concluding with ‘silver-grass’ as in the Left’s case. However, ‘rustling’ (sosoya) seems unnecessary in this poem. It seems a rather forced interpretation to think the cogon grass is turning into insects, seeing as this is not something that happens in nature. That this is a poem more suited to the topic of ‘Garden Huts’, though, is an unavoidable fault. So, while I cannot be satisfied with the inclusion of ‘rustling’, the final section of this poem is fine. It wins.