Tag Archives: heart

KKS II: 114

Composed when it was said that a poetry competition was to be held at the residence of the Middle Captain Lady of the Bedchamber in the Ninna period.[1]

おしと思心は糸によられなん散る花ごとに貫きてとどめむ

oshi to omoFu
kokoro Fa ito ni
yorarenan
tiru Fana goto ni
nukite todomemu
If regrets
Within my heart should into threads
Be spun, then
Through every scattered blossom
Would I sew to hold them here…

Sosei


[1] It was taboo to record the personal names of noble women of high rank unless they were made empress. The Ninna 仁和 period began on the 11th day of the Third Month, 885, and lasted until the 30th day of the Fifth Month, 889. ‘Lady of the Bedchamber’ (miyasudokoro 御息所) was a title given to imperial consorts who had given birth to a prince, while ‘Middle Captain’ (chūjō 中将) was a military position in the palace guards. Contemporary readers would have been able to identify who the ‘Lady who had given birth to an imperial prince and whose father held the position of Middle Captain during the Ninna period’ was, but modern scholarship has not done so; nor have records of this poetry competition survived.

Love X: 8

Left
心ゆく野路の旅寝の友なくはいとど都や恋しからまし

kokoro yuku
noji no tabine no
tomo naku wa
itodo miyako ya
koishikaramashi
To ease my heart
While sleeping on my travels ‘tween the fields
I have no friend at all, so
How much more the capital
Does seem dear to me now!

Lord Kanemune
1155

Right (Win)
立ち宿る一夜ばかりの契だにさてながらふる人もある世を

tachiyadoru
hitoyo bakari no
chigiri dani
sate nagarauru
hito mo aru yo o
Lodging on one’s travels,
For just a single night,
A love
That lasts with
A lady does happen sometimes, yet…

Nobusada
1156

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no entertainers, or conception of love, either. The Left state: the Right’s poem lacks entertainers.

In judgement: it seems that the Gentlemen of both teams have already stated that both poems lack the conception of Love. However, they seem to me to both capture the conception of entertainers. The Right’s configuration and conception are fine. It should win, I think.

Love X: 7

Left
頼むなるあさけ神しも幣はせん君が心やわれになびくと

tanomu naru
asake kami shimo
nusa wa sen
kimi ga kokoro ya
ware ni nabiku to
Worship she does
The goddess Asake, so should even
I make her an offering?
Then might my lady’s heart
Trail in my direction…

Kenshō
1153

Right (Win)
鏡山君に心やうつるらむいそぎ立たれぬ旅衣かな

kagamiyama
kimi ni kokoro ya
utsururamu
isogi tatarenu
tabigoromo kana
Upon Mirror Mount
Has my heart
Found lodging? For
In haste to rise and don
My travelling garb, I am not!

Lord Tsune’ie
1154

Left and Right state: there are no faults to mention in either poem.

In judgement: both Left and Right here refer to a ‘person’ (kimi), with the Left’s ‘making her an offering’ (nusa wa sen) that she might ‘trail in my direction’ (ware ni nabiku ya), while the Right’s has left his heart on Mirror Mount and ‘is not in haste to rise and don his travelling garb’ (isogi tatarenu tabigoromo): each of these poems is evocative, and makes effective use of wordplay, with the Left’s ‘make her an offering’ certainly resembling something I have come across previously, but the initial ‘goddess Asake’ is poor. The Right’s ‘Mirror Mount’ (kagami yama) is something I am familiar with, and this has a gentle tone. Thus, the Right wins.

Love X: 5

Left (Win)
心通ふゆききの舟のながめにもさしてかばかり物は思はじ

kokoro kayou
yukiki no fune no
nagame ni mo
sashite ka bakari
mono wa omowaji
Her heart goes out
On the back-and-forth of boats
That fill her gaze, but
Surely her
Thoughts will not be as mine…

Lord Sada’ie
1149

Right
舟のうち浪の上なる浮き寝には立ち帰るとて袖ぞ濡れける

fune no uchi
nami no ue naru
ukine ni wa
tachikaeru tote
sode zo nurekeru
Within a boat,
Atop the waves
I sleep but briefly and
When I am to leave,
How soaked are my sleeves…

Lord Tsune’ie
1150

As the previous round.

In judgement: the use of ‘surely’ (sashite) in the final section of the Left’s poem sounds like it has been deliberately used to evoke a connection with the earlier ‘boat’ (fune). The initial section of the Right’s poem draws, yet again, on Mochitoki’s over-long line. The latter section also sounds like a deliberate use of evocative language, and the final line lacks impact. It is inferior to the Left’s poem.

Love X: 1

Left
蘆間分け月にうたひて漕ぐ舟に心ぞまづは乗りうつりぬる

ashima wake
tsuki ni utaite
kogu fune ni
kokoro zo mazu wa
nori’utsurinuru
Parting the reeds, and
Singing to the moon,
Boats come rowing out –
My heart, it is, that is first
Aboard and carried away…

Kenshō
1141

Right (Win)
浪の上にくだるを舟のむやひして月にうたひし妹ぞ戀しき

nami no ue ni
kudaru o fune no
muyaishite
tsuki ni utaishi
imo zo koishiki
Upon the waves,
Her boat departs,
Vanishing into the mist;
That moon-sung
Girl is dear to me, indeed!

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office
1142

The Right state: the Left’s poem lacks much of a conception of pleasure girls. In appeal: the poem was written in the conception of Mochitoki’s Chinese poem on pleasure girls ‘the reed-leaves are fresh in springtime’. The Left state: the Right’s poem has nothing worth mentioning.

In judgement: is the conception of pleasure girls really absent from the Left’s ‘parting the reeds, and singing to the moon’ (ashima wake tsuki ni utaite)? The case certainly cannot rely on ‘the reed-leaves are fresh in springtime’. A Chinese poem expresses its topic in its initial line. It is normal for the introduction of the topic to be vague. Japanese and Chinese poetry have aspects where they are similar, and aspects where they differ. Thus, it is not appropriate to cite a Chinese poem’s broaching of its topic as evidence for a Japanese poem’s content. There are certainly other examples by Mochitoki, such as his overlong line in ‘in a boat atop the waves, but I find the same pleasure in life’. The line about reed-leaves can in no way function as proof. Thus this poem, as ‘an old fisherman sings a single shanty’ could be said to be about an old man. As a result, given the lack of clarity in the poem, it is not possible to accept that it is about a pleasure girl. The Right’s poem concludes ‘that moon-sung girl is dear to me, indeed’ (tsuki ni utaishi imo zo koishiki). The final line seems to be almost pointlessly pedestrian, but the poem is certainly about love for a pleasure girl. The Right must win.

Love IX: 24

Left (Win)
からあひの八入の衣色深くなどあながちにつらき心ぞ

kara’ai no
yashio no koromo
iro fukaku
nado anagachi ni
tsuraki kokoro zo
Deepest indigo
Dipped many times, my robe’s
Hue is dark, indeed;
Why, with such heartless
Cruelty am I treated…

Lord Suetsune
1127

Right
衣衣にうつりし色はあだなれど心ぞ深き忍ぶもぢずり

kinuginu ni
utsurishi iro wa
ada naredo
kokoro zo fukaki
shinobu mojizuri
My robe’s
Hues have shifted;
Faithless is she, yet
My heart’s depths
Are stained with fern-patterned longing…

Lord Takanobu
1128

The Right state: we wonder whether ‘deepest indigo dipped many times’ (kara’ai no yashio) should not be scarlet. How dark would the colour be then? In response: there is no possibility of interpreting this as scarlet. We have used deep indigo, so what is there to criticise in then using dark? The Left state: while we understand the conception of the poem, we feel the expression is somewhat lacking. ‘My heart’s depths are stained with secret longing’ (kokoro zo fukaki shinobu mojizuri) does not link well with the initial part of the poem.

In judgement: the Left’s initial ‘deepest indigo’ (kara’ai) certainly sounds elegant, and there is no reason to make it scarlet. I also see no reason to fault the use of dark, either. As for the Right, it does not sound as if ‘stained with fern-patterned longing’ (shinobu mojizuri) links with the remainder of the poem – from the beginning to ‘my heart’s depths’ (kokoro zo fukaki). The final ‘stained with fern-patterned longing’ seems to appear abruptly. Deepest indigo should win.

Love IX: 18

Left
いとはれて胸やすからぬ思をば人の上にぞ書きうつしつる

itowarete
mune yasukaranu
omoi o ba
hito no ue ni zo
kakiutsushitsuru
Being despised
And my unquiet heart
Filled with feelings
Upon her
I paint them out!

Kenshō
1115

Right (Win)
いかにせん絵にかく妹にあらねどもまこと少き人心かな

ika ni sen
e ni kaku imo ni
aranedomo
makoto sukunaki
hitogokoro kana
What am I to do?
A lady painted in a picture
She is not, yet
How lacking are
Her feelings!

Nobusada
1116

The Right state: what is the Left’s poem about? In appeal: it reflects Changkang, who, feeling a woman living next door was beautiful, painted her and was then able to meet her. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.

In judgement: I, too, was unsure of the meaning of ‘my unquiet heart filled with feelings upon her’ (mune yasukaranu omoi woba hito no ue ni zo), and after reading the Left’s response, I am still unclear. In general, in these cases it is customary to cite the source of such things, and to hear of such wide reading is interesting indeed, but this is simply, ‘it reflects Changkang, who, feeling a woman living next door was beautiful, painted her and was then able to meet her’, so it would be difficult to locate within the usual Three Histories; furthermore, I have no recollection of a person named in this Chinese manner, and so an ignorant old man like myself can only ask, who is this Nagayasu? More importantly, though, I do not feel the conception of this poem is particularly well-matched to the topic. The Right’s ‘a lady painted in a picture’ (e ni kaku imo) is a little over-explicit, but ‘how lacking are’ (makoto sukunaki) would seem to be in the style of the Kazan Archbishop, and as I feel this is easier to understand than Nagayasu, I make the Right the winner.

Love IX: 16

Left (Tie)
人しれずつくす心はかひぞなきこや絵にかける姿なるらむ

hito shirezu
tsukusu kokoro wa
kai zo naki
ko ya e ni kakeru
sugata naruramu
Unknown to all
Exhausting my heart
Is so pointless, for
This is but a painted picture
Of her…

Lord Suetsune
1111

Right
いざさらばつれなき人を絵にかきて見てだに恋のなぐさめにせん

iza saraba
tsurenaki hito o
e ni kakite
mite dani koi no
nagusame ni sen
So, then, so be it!
Of that cruel one
I’ll paint a picture, and
Just gazing at it will love’s
Pain ease…

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office
1112

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults. The Left state: the Right’s poem is colloquial.

In judgement: the Left, with ‘this is but a painted picture’ (koya e ni kakeru), and the Right, with ‘so, then, so be it!’ (iza saraba), are of similar styles.