Tag Archives: harukaze

Spring III: 30

Left (Tie).


yoshino yama
hana no furusato
ato taete
munashiki eda ni
haru kaze zo fuku
Upon Mount Yoshino –
The home of blossom –
Footprints fade away;
Now purposeless, the branches,
Shudder in the winds of spring.

A Servant Girl.


Right (Tie).


yama no ha ni
nioishi hana no
kumo kiete
haru no hikazu wa
ariake no tsuki
Along the mountains’ edge
The glow of blossom
Clouds has faded;
The numbered days of Spring,
Revealed by the dawntime moon.



Both teams proclaim themselves moved by the other’s poem.

Shunzei, however, has this to say. ‘The Left’s poem contains “purposeless, the branches, shudder in the winds of spring” (munashiki eda ni harukaze zo fuku), and despite the fact that poems on Mount Yoshino have a somewhat old-fashioned air, and that one might wonder on which peaks it is such clouds of blossom remain, even these moss-covered sleeves have become thoroughly soaked with tears at the thought that the Way of poetry has not reached its end; the Right’s poem has “The numbered days of Spring, revealed by the dawntime moon” (haru no hikazu wa ariake no tsuki), and this has moved even this old heart to thoughts of such a dawning sky, so it is impossible to distinguish between the two in quality. Of old, Spring poems had style, indeed, and to think that such form and spirit still combine to torment the soul is something for which I am thoroughly grateful. Truly, these moss-covered sleeves have been drenched by both Left and Right!’

Spring III: 8



hana chireba
michi ya wa yokenu
shiga no yama
utate kozue o
koyuru haru kaze
The blossom will fall, so
Will you not avoid the path
Across the Shiga Mountains?
Heartlessly, the treetops,
Brushing, O, springtime breeze!

Lord Ari’ie.


Right (Win).


shiga no yamaji o
chiriyuku hana zo
shirube narikeru
Shiga Mountains’ path
To cross,
The scattering blossoms
Show the way.

Lord Tsune’ie.


On the Left’s poem, the Right team state that ‘“will you not avoid” (yokenu) sounds poor.’ The Left have no criticisms to make of the Right’s work.

Shunzei agrees: ‘The terms “will you not avoid” and “heartlessly” (utate) seem quite unpleasant. Thus, the Right wins.’

Spring II: 22

Left (Win).


haru kureba
sora ni midaruru
itoyū wo
hito suji ni ya wa
ari to tanoman
When Spring is come,
The sky is disarrayed by
Heat haze, yet
For it to be all that is –
In that I cannot trust!

Lord Ari’ie.




haru kaze no
nodoka ni fukeba
aoyanagi no
eda mo hitotsu ni
asobu itoyū
When spring breezes
Gently blow
Fresh willow
Fronds as one are
Wavering hazes…



Both teams find no particular faults with the other’s poems.

Shunzei, however, comments, ‘Both poems are excellent in appearance, but the Left has ‘The sky is disarrayed’ (sora ni midaruru). The Right is ‘Fresh willow fronds as one’ (aoyanagi no eda mo hitotsu ni asobu): does this not suggest that haze wavers only in the vicinity of willows? The Left must win.’

Spring I: 17



yamakawa no
kōri no kusabi
ishi ni kudakuru
mizu no shiranami
The mountain stream’s
Icy wedges
Are melting;
Broken on the rocks
In white-capped waves of water.

Lord Ari’ie


Right (Win).


harukaze ni
shita yuku nami no
kazu miete
nokoru tomonaki
usukōri kana
With the breath of spring,
Flowing beneath, waves
In numbers can be seen;
Hardly any remains – just
A coating of ice.



Neither team have any comments to make about the other’s poem.

Shunzei remarks that the opening of the Left’s poem seems ‘old-fashioned’ (and hence is cliched). The conclusion is splendid, but would have been improve by the substitution of ‘crags’ (iwa) for ‘rocks’ (ishi). The Right’s poem, in the spirit of clarifying the numbers of waves of water flowing under a thin sheet of ice, ‘seems exceptional’, and so the latter poem is ‘slightly superior.’

Spring I: 14

Left (Tie).


kōri i
shimizu no shiranami

harukaze shiruki
ike no omo kana
To the iced
Clear waters waves of white
Return again;
Spring’s breezes well know
This mere’s face.

Lord Sada’ie


Right (Tie).


suwa no umi no
kōri no ue no
kayoiji wa
kesa fuku kaze ni
ato taenikeri
At the Sea of Suwa
Upon the ice
The trackways,
With the breath of wind this morning
Have left no trace at all…

The Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right team state that the concluding line of the Left’s poem, ‘this mere’s face’ (ike no omo kana) is ‘weak’. The Left team reply that the first three lines of the Right’s poem are identical to those of a poem by Minamoto no Akinaka (1064-1138), in the Hundred Poem Sequence from the Reign of Former Emperor Horikawa (a sequence composed by a number of poets between 1104-07 and presented to Horikawa):


suFa no umi no
koFori no uFe no
kayoFidi Fa
kami no watarite
tokuru narikeri
At the Sea of Suwa
Upon the ice
The trackways,
With the passage of the God
Have melted.

and that this gave the poem its idea.

Shunzei comments that ‘waters waves of white/Return again’ is a ‘well-worn’ image with nothing special about it, and the Right team have already identified the weakness of the final line, and, of course, it ‘could not be as strong as a Deva King!’ As for the Right’s poem, he accepts the point made by the Left, but as it is not well-known that even in Hundred Poem sequences there are examples which are not ‘excellent work’, it is difficult to completely avoid composing poems with conceptions that resemble them. Thus, the round has to be a tie.