Tag Archives: grass

Autumn III: 12

Left (Win).

時分かぬ浪さへ色に泉川柞の杜に嵐吹らし

toki wakanu
nami sae iro ni
izumigawa
hahaso no mori ni
arashi fukurashi
Ever unchanging,
Even the waves have coloured
On Izumi River;
In the oak groves
Have the wild winds blown.

Lord Sada’ie.

443

Right.

秋深き岩田の小野の柞原下葉は草の露や染らん

aki fukaki
iwata no ono no
hahasowara

shitaba wa kusa no
tsuyu ya somuran
Autumn’s deep at
Iwata-no-Ono
In the oak groves
Have the lower leaves by grass
Touched dewfall been dyed?

Ietaka.

444

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

Shunzei’s judgement: The total effect of the Left’s ‘even the waves have coloured on Izumi River’ (nami sae iro in izumigawa) is most superior [sugata wa yū narubeshi]. However, there does not appear to be any element linked to the final section’s ‘wild winds’ (arashi) in the initial part of the poem. The Right has ‘have the lower leaves by grass touched dewfall been dyed?’ (shitaba wa kusa no tsuyu ya somuran), without, in the initial section having an expression like ‘treetops stained by showers’ (kozue wa shigure somu), and I wonder about having the lower leaves on the trees touched by ‘dewfall on the grass’ (kusa no tsuyu). The Left’s ‘have the wild winds blown’ should win.

Autumn III: 6

Left (Win).

宇津の山越えし昔の跡古りて蔦の枯れ葉に秋風ぞ吹く

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.

431

Right.

淺茅たつ庭の色だにあるものを軒端の蔦はうち時雨つゝ

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

Jakuren.

432

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.

Summer II: 16

Left (Win).

暮そめて草の葉なびく風のまに垣根涼しき夕顔の花

kuresomete
kusa no ha nabiku
kaze no ma ni
kakine suzushiki
yūgao no hana
At the first fall of dusk
Blades of grass rustle
In the breeze;
On the brushwood fence coolly
Blooms a moonflower.

Lord Sada’ie.

271

Right.

日數ふる雪にしほれし心地して夕顔咲ける賤が竹垣

hikazu furu
yuki ni shioreshi
kokochishite
yūgao sakeru
shizu ga takegaki
Day after passing day
Of snowfall has draped it,
I feel,
Moonflowers blooming on
A peasant’s bamboo fence.

Lord Tsune’ie.

272

The Right state, ‘Both “first fall of dusk” (kuresomete) and “in the breeze” (kaze no ma ni) are unusual expressions.’ The Left in return say, ‘It sounds as if the bamboo fence is weighed down with moonflowers!’ (The Left here are interpreting the verb shioru to mean ‘bend down’ which is one of its senses. I have not followed this in my translation, in line with Shunzei’s judgement, below.)

Shunzei comments, ‘The gentlemen of the Right have stated that “first fall of dusk” (kuresomete) and “in the breeze” (kaze no ma ni) are unusual expressions, but I do not feel this to be particularly the case. As for yuki ni shiroreshi, surely this simply means that the fence is draped. In any case, however, “on the brushwood fence, coolly” is the superior poem in every way.’

Summer I: 8

Left (Win).

誰か行く夏野の草の葉末よりほのかに見ゆる三嶋菅笠

tare ka yuku
natsuno no kusa no
hazue yori
honoka ni miyuru
mishima sugagasa
Who is that a’coming?
Above the summer plains’ grass
Tips
Distantly appears
A Mishima sedge-hat!

Lord Suetsune.

195

Right.

夏草にの飼ひの駒もかくろへていばゆる聲ぞ人に知らるゝ

natsukusa ni
no kai no koma mo
kakuroete
ibayuru koe zo
hito ni shiraruru
Among the summer grasses
The herded horses, too,
Are hidden;
Whinnying neighs
Are what let folk know!

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.

196

Neither team has any comments to make about the other’s poem this round.

Shunzei remarks, ‘While the Left’s poem is certainly affecting, might it not be the case that simply “someone” (tare ka yuku) seen at a distance wearing a Mishima sedge-hat is insufficiently moving? However, the conception of the Right’s poem is not that surprising [kokoro wa mezurashikaranedo], and the expression [kotoba] “are hidden” (kakuroete) is certainly inappropriate [yoroshiki kotoba ni arazarubeshi]. “Sedge-hat” should win, should it not!’

Ise Monogatari, Chapter 12

Once, long ago there was a man. He abducted someone’s daughter and when they reached Musashi Plain, as he was plainly a kidnapper, he would have been seized by the provincial governor’s men. Leaving the woman in the grasses, he fled. The pursuers, saying to themselves that doubtless the abductor was hiding there, set the plain alight. The woman, panicked, cried out:

武蔵野は今日はな燒きそ若草のつまもこもれり我もこもれり

musasino Fa
keFu Fa na yaki so
wakakusa no
tuma mo komoreri
ware mo komoreri
O, Musashi Plain
Burn not this day!
Fresh grass,
My man is hidden there,
As, too, am I…

Hearing this, they found her and, together with the man who had been found elsewhere, took her back with them.

Spring II: 11

Left.

武蔵野に雉も妻やこもるらんけふの煙の下に鳴なり

musashino ni
kigisu mo tsuma mo ya
komoruran
kyō no kemuri no
shita ni nakunari
Upon Musashi Plain
Is the cock pheasant’s hen, also,
Concealed?
For today from beneath
The smoke come plaintive cries…

A Servant Girl.

81

Right (Win).

妻戀のきゞす鳴なり朝霞晴るればやがて草隱れつゝ

tsuma koi no
kigisu nakunari
asa kasumi
harureba yagate
kusagakuretsutsu
Longing for his hen
The pheasant calls;
When morning’s haze
Has cleared, how swiftly
He hides among the grass.

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.

82

The Right comment that the Left’s poem resembles Minamoto no Yorimasa’s poem:

霞をや煙と見えん武蔵野に妻もこもれる雉鳴くなり

kasumi wo ya
kemuri to mien
musasino ni
tuma mo komoreru
kigisu nakunari
The haze
Does seem as smoke;
On Musashino Plain
With his hen hidden
A pheasant calls.

The Left snap back that as Yorimasa’s poem is not included in the imperial anthologies, they could not have seen it, and in any case, what sort of criticism is it to say that it ‘resembles Yorimasa’s poem?’ As for the Right’s poem, ‘do pheasants always hide in the grass come the morning?’

Shunzei comments that it is ‘a bit much’ to avoid Yorimasa’s poem altogether. Although he does then go on to say that ‘there’s no reason to strong arm in examples’ of poems not in the imperial anthologies. However, ‘what’s the point’ of associating ‘today’ (kyō) so strongly with ‘smoke’ (kemuri)? (It was supposed to be used only for particular days, such as the first day of spring.) In the Right’s poem ‘When morning’s haze/Has cleared, how swiftly’ (asa kasumi/harureba yagate) ‘has nothing needing criticism about it’, so the their poem is superior this round.

Spring I: 23

Left (Win).

をそくとくをのがさまざま咲く花も一つ二葉の春の若草

osoku toku
ono ga samazama
saku hana mo
hitotsu futaba no
haru no wakakusa
Slow, or distant,
Each has their own
Way to bloom, yet all the flowers
First put forth fresh leaves,
Fresh grasses in the springtime

Lord Sada’ie

45

Right.

いろいろの花咲くべしと見えぬかな草立ほどの野邊のけしきは

iroiro no
hana sakubeshi to
mienu kana
kusa tatsu hodo no
nobe no keshiki wa
In many colours
Will the flowers bloom –
The scene does not seem so,
When just the grass has sprouted
All across the plain…

Lord Tsune’ie

46

Both teams state that their poems are of the same order.

Shunzei remarks that both poems are in the spirit of the Kokinshū’s ‘In green/The grasses seem as one/When seen in springtime’, and neither has a substantial advantage over the other, except that the Right’s ‘when just the grass has sprouted’ might be an ‘undesirable expression’?