Tag Archives: Heat Haze

Spring II: 24

Left (Win).


haru no itoyū
iku yo hete
onaji midori no
sora ni miyuramu
Time and time again
The threaded heat haze of spring,
As uncounted ages pass,
In identical azure
Skies must appear…

Lord Sada’ie.




yūhi no sora o
usukurenai ni
somuru itoyū
When on the tranquil
Sunset sky
I gaze,
Pale crimson
Stains the haze.



Neither team has anything to say about the other’s poem this round.

Shunzei, however, says, ‘Although the expressions ‘time and time again’ (kurikaeshi) and ‘uncounted ages pass’ (iku yo hete) seem somewhat forced connections with ‘threaded’ (ito), the final section beginning ‘identical azure’ (onaji midori) is superb. The essence of the Right’s poem, of gazing at the sky at sunset with the threads of haze stained, is charming, but I wonder whether it would not have been better not to force the reference to sunset into the poem. ‘Azure skies’ must win.

Spring II: 23

Left (Win).


omokage ni
chisato o kakete
misuru kana
haru no hikari ni
asobu itoyū
A vision from
Across a thousand leagues
In the spring sunlight
Wavering ‘midst the haze.

A Servant Girl.




aru ka naki ka ni
kokorobosoku mo
asobu itoyū
When I look out
Is it there, or not?
Disordered and
Wavering haze.

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right say they have nothing particular to remark upon about the Left’s poem, but the Left wonder whether ‘forlorn’ (kokorobosoku mo) forms an appropriate linkage with the final line. (The point they are making is that in the original poem the final line starts asobu, which literally means ‘enjoy oneself’ or ‘play’, and thus ‘forlorn’ seems an incongruous prequel to it. In all the ‘Heat Haze’ poems I’ve translated asobu as ‘wavering’, as it’s use in this context is not for its sense, but as an addition piece of orthographic wordplay, as ‘heat haze’ (itoyū), is written with the characters for ‘threads’ (ito 糸) and ‘play’ ( 遊).)

Shunzei’s judgement is: ‘One has to wonder about the suitability of the final line of the Right’s poem, as is the gist of the Left’s remarks; by contrast, the ending of the Left’s poems seems particularly good. It has to be the winner.’

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.’