Tag Archives: fence

Love V: 22

Left (Tie).

namida seku
sode no yosome wa
wasurezu ya to mo
iu hima zo naki
Tears are dammed upon
My sleeves, and within eyesight
Does she sit arrayed, but
‘Have you not forgotten me?’ –
To ask that, I have no chance!

Lord Sada’ie


ume ga e no
sue kosu naka no
kakine yori
omou kokoro ya
iro ni miemashi
The plum branches’
Tips cross beyond
Her fence, so
Will the love within my heart
Appear plain before her?


Both teams state there are no faults with their opponent’s poem.

In judgement: the Gentlemen of both Left and Right have stated that there are no faults with the style of either poem. I accept that and will make this round a tie.

Autumn I: 30



asa madaki
niwa mo magaki mo
tsuyu okiagaru
kusa no ha mo nashi
At the cusp of dawn
My garden and my fence, too,
After the gales,
Are drenched in dew
Flattened blades of grass – every one.

Lord Ari’ie.




muragumo mayoi
fuku kaze ni
makura sadamenu
hana no iroiro
In the dim dusk light
Crowding clouds confusedly
Blown by the breeze
Unable to rest are all
The many blooms.

Lord Takanobu.


The Right state that ‘linking “gales” with “drenched” is a poor expression’, while the Left feel that they have no criticisms of the Right’s poem.

Shunzei, again, broadly agrees: ‘What are we to make of the Left’s poem with a fence left standing in a garden after a gale? The Right’s “crowding clouds confusedly” is fine, indeed. Although the term “pillow” is unsuitable in this context, the Left’s “drenched in dew” cannot possibly be right here, either, and so the Right wins.”

Autumn I: 24

Left (Win).


tsuki zo sumu
sato wa makoto ni
uzura no toko o
harau aki kaze
Clear shines the moon, dwelling
O’er a house truly
Gone to ruin;
The quail’s bed
Brushed by autumn breezes…

Lord Sada’ie.


Sada’ie’s poem alludes obliquely to a famous poetic exchange from the Kokinshū, initiated by Ariwara no Narihira.



shigeki no to
yado nare ya
magaki no kure ni
uzura nakunari
Overgrown are these fields, and
Is that a deserted
By the fence at evening time
The quails are crying.



Both teams concur that there are no faults at all this round.

Shunzei agrees: ‘Both poems are on the theme of now deserted dwelling places and are equally beautiful in expression, with the Right’s work reminiscent of “Fushimi at evening time”, but this implies a broad vista, and is not “the fence at evening time” too narrow? The Left’s final section is better, and wins, I think.’

Summer II: 13



katayama no
kakine no hikage
tsuyu ni zo utsuru
hana no yūgao
Facing the single mountainside
In evening sunlight upon the fence
Faintly seen,
Glistening with dew,
Is a bloom of moonflower.

A Servant Girl.


Right (Win).


orite koso
yū tsuyu ni
himo toku hana no
hikari ari to wa
Plucked, that
I might gaze upon her,
Touched with evening dew,
Her belt undoing, this blossom
Is lustrous, indeed!

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right wonder whether the Left’s poem, ‘lacks the emotional import of the topic [dai no kokoro kasuka ni ya], despite the mention of moonflowers?’ The Left counter that, ‘The Right’s poem simplistically recalls The Tale of Genji [genji no monogatari bakari o omoeru]– is this appropriate in a poetry contest [uta’awase no akashi to nasu ni, ikaga]?’

Shunzei states, ‘The Left certainly does lack the emotional import of the topic. Moreover, it does not use the expression “moonflower blossom” (yūgao no hana), but “bloom of moonflower” (hana no yūgao). This, too, is contrary to the topic [dai no mama narade] and, I have to say, an unusual choice of expression. The Right’s poem does simply refer to The Tale of Genji, but in form it cannot be said to be anything less than superb [utazama yū narazaru ni wa arazaru]. It is superior to a “bloom of moonflower”.’