Tag Archives: eaves

Winter II: 3

Left (Win).


toekashi na
niwa no shirayuki
ato taete
aware mo fukaki
fuyu no ashita o
I would go a’calling;
In my garden the white snowfall
Has covered all the tracks;
How deep is my sorrow,
On this winter morning!

Lord Kanemune.




noki no uchi ni
suzume no koe wa
hito koso shiranu
kesa no shirayuki
From underneath the eaves
To the sparrows’ chirps
Have I grown accustomed, yet
No one noticed
This morning’s fall of snow so white…



The Right state that the Left’s initial line makes their poemsound like a reply. In addition, the final line is ‘overly forceful’ [itau tsuyoku]. The Left merely comment that the Right’s use of ‘sparrow’ (suzume) is ‘inappropriate’.

Shunzei’s judgement: Even though the Left’s poem is not a reply, starting with ‘I would go a’calling’ (toekashi na) is common in the reply style [zōtōtei]. In addition, ‘Winter Mornings’ is not a topic which one needs to approach obliquely. There are only the good and bad points of the poetry. ‘From underneath the eaves to the sparrows’ chirps have I grown accustomed’ (noki no uchi ni suzume no koe wa naruru) is not an expression much used about morning snow. However, the final section of the poem appears fine. ‘Sparrows’ chirps’ (suzume no koe) is, perhaps, somewhat colloquial [zoku no chikaku]. Despite the comment by the gentlemen of the Right that the final section of the Left’s poem is ‘overly forceful’, it is a better ‘Winter Morning’ poem.

Autumn III: 6

Left (Win).


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.




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



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 III: 5



ashi no ya no
tsuta hau noki no
oto koso tatene
iro wa kakurezu
My roof of reeds,
Ivy twining on the eaves, is struck
By a soft shower
Sound is there none, but
The hues cannot hide…

Lord Sada’ie.




kesa mireba
tsuta hau noki ni
shinobu nomi koso
aoba narikeri
When I looked this morning,
The ivy twining on the eaves
Was struck by a shower;
Only the ferns remember
To remain green-leaved.

Lord Takanobu.


Neither team has any criticisms to make of the other’s poem, and say as much.

Shunzei’s judgement: Both poems are concern ‘a shower falling on ivy-clad eaves’, with the Left mentioning no sound from a ‘roof of reeds’ and the Right the different hues of ‘fern-remembered eaves’ (shinobu no noki). Thus, there is not much between them. I make them the same quality.

Autumn II: 12

Left (Win).


aki yo tada
kono sato nomi no
yūbe to omowaba
O, Autumn!
Could I escape you
I would leave
This dwelling, were it alone
Enveloped in evening..

Lord Sada’ie.




nokiba no hagi no
matsukaze ni naru
yūgure no sora
At the bush clover ‘neath my eaves,
A visitor’s step
Awaiting, carried by the pine-brushed wind,
From the evening skies…



Neither team has any criticisms of the other’s poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: There is no distinction to make between the diction or emotional import of either poem. There is, of course, no reason to expect the wind not to blow through the pine trees, when it brushes the bush clover. I feel that the sentiment of this poem’s ‘pine-brushed wind’ (matsukaze ni naru) resembles that of Round One Hundred and Ninety’s ‘Insects sing from the cogon grasses in my garden’ (mushi no ne ni naru niwa no asajū), but is somewhat inferior. The Left, though, truly captures the feeling.

Autumn II: 4



inishie no
hito o kiku ni mo
aki no yo no
mado utsu ame wa
Long ago
The ladies, I hear,
On autumn nights
With rain beating ‘gainst the window
Were lonely, as am I…

Lord Kanemune.




noki chikaki
matsu no kaze dani
aru mono o
mado uchisouru
aki no murasame
Close by my eaves,
Waiting, with the wind through the pines,
The window, beaten by
Autumn showers.



The Right complain, ‘In the Left’s poem, the poet seems to hear of the appearance of “long ago ladies”, but what is it that he hears – one would usually expect more, would one not?’ The Left have no criticisms of the Right’s poem.

Shunzei broadly agrees: ‘The Left’s poem, in saying “ladies, I hear” would certainly seem to be recollecting the concubines at the court of Xuanzong, but I wonder if this is clearly enough expressed in the poem? The Right’s final section “The window, beaten by Autumn showers” (mado uchisouru aki no murasame) sounds particularly fine. Thus, the Right wins.’

Autumn II: 3



aki no yo wa
mado utsu ame ni
yume samete
nokiba ni masaru
sode no tamamizu
On an autumn night
Rain beating ‘gainst my widow
Wakes me from my dreams,
Falling from the eaves,
Yet many more are the droplets on my sleeves.

Lord Ari’ie.




miru yume mo
mado utsu ame ni
makura ni aki no
aware o zo shiru
Rain beating ‘gainst my window
Starts me awake;
Upon my lonely pillow, autumn’s
Sharp sadness do I feel.

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


Neither team has any criticisms of the other’s poem this round.

Shunzei agrees: ‘Both poems are superb in both style and form and, in addition, the initial sections are generally similar, but in terms of the concluding sections, the Left’s is slightly deeper. Thus, the Left wins.’

Summer II: 22

Left (Win).


yūdachi no
kumo no mio yori
nokiba ni otsuru
taki no shiratama
An evening shower:
The clouds form channels
Trailing onto
My eaves’ edge and dropping
A cataract of silver droplets.

Lord Ari’ie.




narukami no
sora kakikurasu
yūdachi ni
kakaranu sato mo
ari to koso kike
Darkens the sky;
This evening shower:
A dwelling where it falls not
There is, I’ve heard…

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right have no criticisms to make of the Left’s poem, while the Left merely wonder, ‘Where is the dwelling where the shower “falls not”?’

Shunzei: ‘“The eaves’ edge and dropping a cataract of silver droplets” is particularly well-formed. It must win.’

Summer II: 21

Left (Win).


azumaya no
noki ni shizuku o
hodo naku harenu
yūdachi no sora
On all four sides
From the eaves droplets
Yet hang;
Quickly clearing is
The evening shower from the sky.

Lord Suetsune.




yūdachi no
hodo koso shibashi
nagori mo suzushi
miyamagi no kage
The evening shower’s
Span, but briefly
Would I rest here;
Coolness, a memento
In the shade of mountain trees.

Lord Takanobu.


The Right query, ‘The use of “from the eaves droplets” (noki ni shizuku). Surely it should be “on the eaves droplets” (noki no shizuku)?’ The Left respond, ‘These are identical in meaning and have no real difference.’ They then wonder, ‘Whether the Right’s poem has not changed in topic to tree shade?’

Shunzei says simply, ‘Both Left’s latter section, and the Right’s initial section are particularly pedestrian in expression, but the Left’s “From the eaves droplets” is slightly superior.’

Summer II: 6

Left (Win).


tachibana no
nioi o kaze no
mukashi ni kaesu
yowa no sagoromo
Orange blossom
Scent upon the breeze
Me back to times gone by,
In my night-time garb…

Lord Ari’ie.




noki chikaki
hana tachibana ni
kaze sugite
nioi o nokosu
semi no hagoromo
Close by my eaves
The orange blossom
Brushed by the breeze
Leaves its scent upon
The cicada’s gossamer garb.

Lord Takanobu.


The Right team have no particular criticisms to make this round. The Left, however, say that, ‘the expression “the orange blossom brushed by the breeze” (hana tachibana ni kaze sugite) sounds old-fashioned. Furthermore, “cicada’s gossamer garb” (semi no hagoromo) seems somewhat unexpected.’

Shunzei seems to agree, simply saying, ‘The Left’s “urges me back to times gone by, in my night-time garb’ (mukashi ni kaesu yowa no sagoromo) seems particularly fine. It must win.’