Tag Archives: hotaru

Autumn I: 17

Left (Win).


hakanashi ya
aretaru yado no
utatane ni
inazuma kayou
tamakura no tsuyu
How brief it was!
In a ruined dwelling
Dozing, when
Lightning crossed
The dewdrops on my pillowing arm…

A Servant Girl.




sawa no hotaru wa
kage kiete
taedae yadoru
yoi no inazuma
All together have
The fireflies above the marsh
Lost their light;
Briefly remaining,
Lightning at the dusk…



The Right state that they have no criticisms of the Left’s poem. The Left wonder about the suitability of fireflies disappearing in the autumn.

Shunzei feels, ‘The Left’s poem is certainly charming in form and expression, but more thought should have been given to the initial phrase “How brief it was!” (hakanashi ya). The Right’s poem, too, is charming, and as for fireflies being a topic for summer poetry alone, in autumn it is acceptable to compose on the failing of their light, is it not? Did not Anjin compose “Fireflies flashing on the palace stairs and gates/Crickets crying from the eaves and tiles”? There is also the example from the Collection of Songs to Sing Aloud of “Seeking cuckoo calls in the dawntime clouds/Innumerable fireflies flit among the autumn grasses”. Still, the Left’s “dewdrops on my pillowing arm” wins, I think.’

Love 57

Left (Tie).


kururu yo wa
eji no taku hi wo
sore to miyo
muro no yashima mo
miyako naraneba
In the dark of night,
The conscripts kindled flames
Behold as my love, for
The waters of Muro no Yashima
Lie not within the capital.


Right (Tie).


ashi no ya ni
hotaru ya magau
ama ya taku
omoi mo koi mo
yoru wa moetsutsu
In a reed-roofed hut,
One might mistake for fireflies, or
Fisherfolk’s kindled fires
The passion and the love, that
Burns in me throughout the night.