Tag Archives: cypress

Love VIII: 8

Left
戀死なば苔むす塚に栢古りてもとの契に朽ちやはてなん

koi shinaba
kokemusu tsuka ni
kae furite
moto no chigiri ni
kuchi ya hatenan
Should I have died of love and
Upon my moss-hung tomb
An aged cypress be
Would those vows from long ago
Have rotted quite away?

Lord Sada’ie
1035

Right (Win)
かくばかり思と君も白樫に知らじな色に出でばこそあらめ

kaku bakari
omou to kimi mo
shirakashi ni
shiraji na iro ni
ideba koso arame
That so much
I long for you,
Evergreen,
You know not; for what hues
Might I show?

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress Household Office
1036

The Gentlemen of the Right state: ‘tomb’ (tsuka) and ‘cypress’ (kae) are frightening. The Gentlemen of the Left state: ‘evergreen’ (kashi) is the same, is it not?

In judgement: What might ‘upon my moss-hung tomb an aged cypress be’ (kokemusu tsuka ni kae furite) mean? Maybe the poet had in mind the part of the Scribe’s Records, where Duke Wen of Jin, on parting from his wife in Di, says, ‘If you wait for me for twenty-five years and I have still not returned, then marry again,’ but his wife laughs and says, ‘After ageing for twenty-five years, a cypress will be growing upon my tomb!’ The Right’s ‘evergreen’ (shirakashi) must simply serve to introduce to ‘you know not; for what hues might I show?’ (shiraji na iro ni ideba koso arame). However, both ‘cypress’ (kae) and ‘evergreen’ (kashi) lack admirable qualities. The round should tie.

Spring II: 8

Left (Win).

御狩する人や聞くらん杉の野にさをどるきゞす聲しきりなり

mikarisuru
hito ya kikuran
sugi no no ni
saodoru kigisu
koe shikirinari
Does the hunting
Party hear it?
Among the cypress groves
The waltzing pheasants’
Cries come clearly.

Lord Suetsune

75

Right.

雉鳴く交野の原のとだちこそまことにかりの宿りなりけれ

kigisu naku
katano no hara no
todachi koso
makoto ni kari no
yadorinarikere
The pheasants cry upon
The plain of Katano:
In the bird-brakes,
Truly, will they find only brief
Lodgings!

Lord Tsune’ie

76

The Right say they have no particular criticisms of the Left’s poem this round. The Right, on the other hand, say that ‘pheasants crying in the bird brakes’ (kigisu naku todachi) sounds ‘clumsy’. After all, a bird-brake is a place from where birds fly, and those birds are pheasants. The Left counter that Fujiwara no Kintō’s poem, ‘Of my mountain hut, the blossoms are the lodgings’ (yamazato Fa Fana koso yado no) is a similar case, as there is no difference between a ‘hut’ and ‘lodgings’, and there is nothing to criticise in this poem.

Shunzei begins by saying that the Left’s poem, below ‘cypress groves’ (sugi no no) is ‘old-fashioned’, while the top two stanzas are ‘modern poetry’, and wonders whether it is not ‘unsuitable’ to mix these styles in one poem. As to the question of whether the Right’s poem is ‘defective’, the poem they cite in its defence is ‘even more defective’ (meaning that the complete version of Kintō’s poem uses the same auxiliary verb (-keri) twice). However, in ancient times, and the past, too, it was the normal state of affairs that ‘such defects were not avoided.’ Is it not the case, he asks, whether ‘the anthologies and poetry competitions are entirely different?’ (The commentators take this as suggesting it’s better to avoid producing ‘defective’ poems in competition.) Thus, though he finds the use of old-fashioned expressions like ‘waltzing’ (saodoru) displeasing, the Left’s poem is not defective and so must win this round.

Miscellaneous 82

Left (Tie).

いく世へぬかざし折けんいにしへに三輪の檜原の苔の通路

ikuyo henu
kazashi oriken
inishie ni
miwa no hihara no
koke no kayoiji
How many ages passed?
Twigs plucked and placed in hair,
Long ago
In Miwa’s cypress groves,
Along the moss-covered paths…

163

Right

見ずしらずうづもれぬ名の跡やこれたなびき渡る夕暮の雲

mizu shirazu
uzumorenu na no
ato ya kore
tanabiki wataru
yūgure no sora
Unseen, unknown,
Of an everlasting name
This the only trace,
Trailing across
The evening sky?

164