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.
The Right state: both the conception and diction of the Left’s poem are unclear. The Left state: the Right’s poem, in addition to being commonplace, has ‘begins’ (susumuru) which is unimpressive.
In judgement: in the Left’s poem, while ‘blossoms do the sleeves’ (hana no koromode) is evocative, ‘a hue that’ (iro zo sore) is certainly extremely difficult to understand. In the Right’s poem, both ‘Cathay robe’ (karakoromo) and ‘with a skirt’ (tsuma ni zo arikeru) seem elegant, but I wonder about the impression of ‘her scent transferred’ (sono utsurika) and ‘begins’. It is unclear which poem is superior or inferior, so the round should tie.
iro ni idashi
koto no ha mo mina
namida o chirasu
kaze no oto kana
The bright hues of passion
In these leaves and your words
Have all withered away;
Tears scattering with
The sound of the wind…
The Right state: ‘Breeze: whither’ (kaze izukata e) seems lacking. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to indicate.
In judgement: in the Left’s poem, I wonder whether ‘breeze: wither’ really is lacking. ‘This pleasant’ (kokoro no ai) would seem to be an expression deriving from ‘At the head of the road’. I seem to recall it coming after ‘In Kofu in Takefu / Will I be’, but that is not a suitable source. The Right’s poem, as the Gentlemen of the Left have said, appears to have no faults. It should win.
When the same former Emperor [Koichijō] had gone to reside with the Takamatsu Consort, and his visits to her had become intermittent, she composed this on hearing the wind blowing strongly through the pines.
iro ya midori ni
mono’omoFu Fito no
mi ni zo siminuru
Does the wind through the pines
Take on a hue of green
As it blows?
That one so sunk in gloomy thought
It so deeply dyes…
The Horikawa Consort 堀川女御
[Fujiwara no Nobuko/Enshi 藤原延子 (985-1019)