kawagiri no fumoto o komete tachinureba sora ni zo aki no yama wa miekeru The river mists Around the foothills Have risen, so ‘Tis in the skies that autumn On the mountains is revealed.
toshigoto no momijiba nagasu tatsutagawa minato ya aki no tomari naruran Every single year Scarlet leaves wash down The Tatsuta River; Is it at the mouth that autumn Might find its port?
On summer trees, when His Majesty, the Former Emperor, ordered him to produce a thirty poem sequence.
niji no tatsu fumoto no sugi wa kumo ni kiete mine yori haruru yūdachi no ame A rainbow rises above Cedars in the foothills, Vanishing in the clouds Clearing from the peaks, With an evening shower of rain.
Former Senior Assistant Governor General of Dazai Toshikane
From a poetry contest at Sadafun’s house.
mine Fa moe Fumoto Fa koForu FuzigaFa no ware mo ukiyo wo sumi zo waduraFu At the peak it burns and At the foot does freeze: The Fuji River, just as I, too, in this cruel world Live and suffer.
This is the sole surviving poem from ‘
Sadafumi’s Poetry Contest‘.
kimi o kimase no
yama no fumoto ni For many years and months
I yearned to no end,
Calling you on Kimase
koi no amari ni
hito ya tou tote As Mount Yoshino
Is my love’s extent,
So deeply do I feel it;
But were I to do so,
Perhaps he would visit me there?
Both Right and Left together state the opposing poem has no faults to indicate.
In judgement: in the Left’s poem, would it really be to no end to pass the time calling on Mount Kimase? The Right’s poem, on Mount Yoshino, has ‘but were I to do so’ (
naka saraba), which sounds charming. Thus, the Right wins.
Sent to the house of someone who had gone to Shinano.
akazu miru tomo
yama no Fumoto ni
nagawisu na kimi The moonlight can
Never sate your gaze, but
At the mountain’s foot
Stay not too long, my lord!
Ki no Tsurayuki
'Simply moving and elegant'