Tag Archives: Frozen Pines

Winter II: 12

Left (Win).


shimizu moru
tani no toboso mo
kōri o tataku
mine no matsukaze
Where spring waters flow
From out the valley mouth
Is stopped;
Against the ice strikes
The wind from off the pine-filled peaks.

A Servant Girl.




kozue ni mo
yowa no shirayuki
oto yowariyuku
mine no matsukaze
The treetops, too,
Within the snows tonight
Are buried, it seems:
The sounds have softened of
The wind from off the pine-filled peaks.



Neither Left nor Right find any fault.

Shunzei’s judgement: The phrasing of both poems, such as ‘wind from off the pine-filled peaks’ (mine no matsukaze), ‘Against the ice strikes’ (kōri o tataku) and ‘sounds have softened’ (oto yowariyuku), has not particular strong or weak points [kōotsu nakuhaberedo], but still, ‘against the ice strikes’ seems a little superior.

Winter II: 11



yuki uzumu
matsu o midori ni
mise mo kikase mo
yama oroshi no kaze
Buried in the snows,
The pines to green
Are blown back,
Sight and sound both from
The wind down the mountains.

Lord Ari’ie.




kozue no kumo o
kaesu nari
onoue no matsu no
yuki no urakaze
Frozen with chill,
The treetop-touching clouds
Fly away;
The pines of Onoue,
Blown free from the snows by the wind from off the bay…



Neither team finds any fault with the other’s poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: This round the poems of Left and Right both describe memorable scenes. The Left’s ‘pines to green are blown back’ (matsu o midori ni fukikaeshi) and the Right’s ‘pines of Onoue, blown free from the snows by the wind from off the bay’ (onoue no matsu no yuki no urakaze) are equivalently excellent in conception and diction [kokoro kotoba shōretsu naku miehaberi]. This must be a tie of quality [yoki ji].

Winter II: 10

Left (Win).


suzu no karine ni
shimo saete
matsukaze hayashi
fukenu kono yo wa
Upon Mt Yoshino,
In fitful sleep upon a bed of bamboo,
The frost falls chill, indeed, and
The wind gusts through the pines,
With the fall of night.





shiba no amido wa
kaze sugite
arare yokogiru
matsu no oto kana
On the mountains’ edge
My woven brushwood door
Is pierced by the wind;
Hearing hail blown horizontal
Against the pines…



Both Left and Right are exaggerated in their insistence that the other’s poem lacks any faults.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘Upon Mt Yoshino, in fitful sleep upon a bed of bamboo’ (yoshinoyama suzu no karine ni) would seem to suggest an ascetic who, having travelled into the mountains, has made himself a hut from bamboo and pillowed upon the tree roots, would it not? But here he seems to have simply cut them down, spread them out and lain upon them! In addition, ‘The wind gusts through the pines’ (matsukaze hayashi) fails to sound elegant [yū ni shi kikoezaru]. The Right, by starting with ‘On the mountains’ edge’ (toyamanaru), suggests that the poet is speaking of his own dwelling’s door in the mountains. ‘Hearing hail blown horizontal against the pines’ (arare yokogiru matsu no oto) also just does not sound appropriate. Both poems have an exaggerated feeling [kotogotoshikaran to wa kokorozashite], and I cannot grasp who they are referring to. However, the Left’s poem is, still, somewhat superior.

Winter II: 9



mata utsumoruru
yuki no uchi ni
sa mo toshi fukaki
matsu no iro kana
Appearing and
Then buried once more
By the snows:
How ancient are
The pine trees’ constant hues…

Lord Sada’ie.


Right (Win).


fuyu ni shirarenu
iro nagara
matsu shi mo kaze no
Why is it that,
All unknowing that ‘tis winter
In their hue,
The pines’ rustling in the wind
Is so sad?

Lord Takanobu.


Both Left and Right say the other team’s poem is ‘not bad’ [ashikaranu].

Shunzei’s judgement: While the initial section of the Left’s poem is splendid [], I feel that the later ‘How ancient are’ (sa mo toshi fukaki) goes too far [sa made mo haberazaran]. The Right’s ‘Why is it that’ (ikanareba) is an expression I am unable to accept [shokisubekarazu], the later ‘pines’ rustling in the wind’ (matsu shi mo kaze no) sounds most fine, does it not? Thus, the Right should win.

Winter II: 8

Left (Tie).


matsukaze no
oto wa itsu tomo
kozue no yuki ya
fuyu wa sabishiki
The wind-blown pines
Murmur is ever
Unchanging, yet
Is it the snow upon the treetops that
Makes winter so sad?

Lord Kanemune.




nabete yo no
kozue ni kaze wa
matsu fuku koe wa
Through most
Treetops the wind
Has weakened, yet
Gusting through the pines, its cry
Is wild, indeed!

The Provisional Master of the Empress Household Office.


Both teams consider that the other’s poem is ‘not particularly good’ [kanshinsezaru].

Shunzei’s judgement: There is little between both poems, on ‘wind in the pines’. Thus, the round ties.

Winter II: 7

Left (Win).


yuki no uchi ni
nao mo midori no
iro nagara
chiyo o arawasu
mine no wakamatsu
In amongst the snows,
Yet still does the fresh, green
Hue remain;
A thousand years made manifest in
The young pines on the peak.

Lord Suetsune.




kesa mireba
yuki takasago no
matsu ga e wa
tsuchi ni tsuku made
Looking on this morning
The snow has reached such heights
The pine boughs are
Bent down to the ground,
Buried by the fall…

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right find no fault with the Left’s poem. The Left state that the Right’s poem is ‘lacking in sense’.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘A thousand years made manifest in the young pines on the peak’ (chiyo o arawasu mine no wakamatsu) is charming [okashiku miehaberu], but the in the phrase ‘Yet still does the fresh, green’ (nao mo midori no), the use of ‘still’ (mo) is old-fashioned, and including it produces a phrasing which is inferior to ‘yet’ (nao) alone. When I say such things, people may find them difficult to accept, but not to do so would do the Way a disservice, and thus, I must. The Right’s ‘The pine boughs are bent down to the ground’ (matsu ga e wa tsuchi ni tsuku made) is something which has been used in poetry since long ago, and so is somewhat commonplace [tsune no koto], but ‘such heights the pine’ (takasago no matsu) does not seem that bad [ito masanakuhaberuran]. The Left’s ‘young pines on the peak’ (mine no wakamatsu) should win.