omoiyare towade hodo furu samidare ni hitori yado moru sode no shizuku o Lost in thoughts of you, Time without a visit passes by As a summer shower In my lonely home leaks Droplets on my sleeves…
yo to tomo ni sate nomi koso wa sugushishika omoishirinu ya sode no shizuku o Together with the world All stayed the same As it passed by; Could I be ignorant of The droplets on your sleeves?
The Middle Counsellor
wa ga yado no hanatachibana ni fuku kaze o ta ga sato yori to tare nagamuran From my home The scent of orange blossom Is carried on the breeze; Will you wonder from whose house it came Lost in pensive thoughts?
Major Controller of the Left Chikamune
Next Door 隣
tonari yori ashibi no keburi morekitsutsu takanu sato ni mo susu tarinubeshi From next door The smoke from reed-torches is Always flooding across, so Even my home where we light them not Has soot aplenty!
Next Door 隣 冬くれば中がきあけて我がやどをへだてもなくや君もみるらん
fuyu kureba nakagaki akete wa ga yado o hedate mo naku ya kimi mo miruran Winter has come, so The fence between I’ll open up and Into my home With nothing in your way Might you turn your gaze?
Wang Zhaojun 王昭君
yuku sugara kokoro mo yukazu wareji wa nao furusato no koto zo kanashiki On my way along, Uncomprehending, This path of parting, O, my home – How sad I am with thoughts of you!
Sages’ Dwellings 仙宮
furusato wa ika ni narinishi ono no e no kutsuru mo shirazu toshi no henureba My home, O, what has become of it? My axe handle Rotting, I noticed not, and So the years passed by…
wa ga yado ni ureshiki koto zo furinikeru furu ni kai aru ame no shita kana At my home A joyous event Has arrived – Its arrival the effect Of Heaven’s blessings!
yado o ideba tazunete yukan shimizudera nani tagawazu wa sumi ya tomaru to When I leave my home Intending to pay a call on The temple of pure waters, Would there be no difference between Living or lodging there?
kokoro mo shiranu
matsumushi no koe Never will I forget you –
Despairing of that vow
All unknowing of my feelings
Comes a bell cricket’s cry…
konu hito no
aki no keshiki ya
urami ni yowaru
matsumushi no koe He comes not, so
Is all seeming done, as autumn
Does wear on?
How I envy the weakening
Bell cricket’s song…
Left and Right: both poems are equally admirable.
In judgement: the Left’s poem, with ‘all unknowing of my feelings comes a bell cricket’s cry’ (
kokoro mo shiranu matsumushi no koe) is fine. The Right, with ‘is all seeming done, as autumn does wear on’ ( aki no keshiki ya fukenuran), is too, so both Left and Right do truly move the heart, do they not? I have no way of distinguishing superior from inferior here, so thus must make the round a tie.
tora fusu nobe ni
iru yori mo
madou koiji no
sue zo ayauki In far Cathay are
Meadows where tigers lie,
But rather than entering there,
The confusing paths of love
Are, at the end, more dangerous…
wa ga yado wa
hito mo kareno no
kayoishi koma no
ato mo todomezu At my home
Is only a withered field
Of cogon grass;
The mount who once did cross it
Has left no lingering tracks…
The Gentlemen of the Right state: how can love be dangerous? The Gentlemen of the Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.
In judgement: saying that the ‘paths of love are, at the end’ (
koiji no sue) dangerous is perfectly commonplace. ‘Is only a withered field of cogon grass’ ( hito mo kareno no asajiwara) seems to simply have taken the poem ‘Sedge fields lie / Around the estate of Fushimi, / All long overgrown; / He who passed across them / Has left no tracks at all…’ and swapped in ‘mount who once did cross it’ ( kayoishi koma). Changing a man into a mount is discomposing, indeed. Again, the Left should win.