Tag Archives: depths

Love VIII: 24

Left (Tie)
この比の心の底をよそに見ば鹿鳴く野邊の秋の夕暮

kono koro no
kokoro no soko o
yoso ni miba
shika naku nobe no
aki no yūgure
Of late
Of the depths of my heart
Were you to catch a distant glimpse:
A stag belling in the meadow
On an autumn evening…

A Servant Girl
1067

Right
暮れかゝる裾野の露に鹿鳴きて人待つ袖も涙そふ也

kurekakaru
susono no tsuyu ni
shika nakite
hito matsu sode mo
namida sou nari
Twilight
Drapes dewfall on the mountains’ skirts,
With a stag’s sad cry;
Awaiting him, my sleeves, too,
Are wet with tears.

Nobusada
1068

Left and Right together: we find no faults to mention.

In judgement: it would be impossible to ever exhaust the overtones of feeling in ‘a stag belling in the meadow on an autumn evening’ (shika naku nobe no aki no yūgure) in the Left’s poem; in the Right’s poem the configuration and conception of ‘awaiting him, my sleeves, too, are wet with tears’ (hito matsu sode mo namida sou nari) is richly evocative. I find it extremely hard to put both poems down, so this round, again, is a tie of quality.

Love VII: 7

Left.
鯨取るさかしき海の底までも君だに住まば浪路しのがん

kujira toru
sakashiki umi no
soko made mo
kimi dani sumaba
namij shinoga
The whale-hunting
Savage sea’s
Depths: even there,
Should it be your dwelling,
Would I endure the waves…

Kenshō.
973

Right (Win).
石見潟千尋の底もたとふれば淺き瀬になる身の恨かな

iwamigata
chihiro no soko mo
tatoureba
asaki se ni naru
mi o urami kana
Iwamigata:
Your thousand fathom depths
I take as
A shallow shoal
For my despite.

Jakuren.
974

The Right state:  the Left’s poem leaves a fearsome impression, does it not? The Left state: we find no fault with the Right’s poem.

In judgement: The Left’s ‘whale hunting’ (kujira toran) I remember occurring in the Man’yōshū, but among many of that collection’s oddly-styled poems. However, it does sound extremely fearsome. When Emperor Qin Shihuang sought Mount Penglai, although he said to ‘shoot’ (iyo) great fish, I have not heard that he went so far as to ‘hunt’ (tore) them. Generally speaking, poems should evoke delicacy and charm, and what purpose is served, for the way of poetry, or for the individual, by frightening people deliberately? The Right’s Iwamigata and ‘For my despite’ (mi no urami kana) recalls an official complaining over being passed over for promotion. However, I cannot accept the Left’s poem. Thus, the Right wins.