amorituku ame no kaguyama kiri tatu paru ni itareba matukaze ni ikenami tatite sakurabana ko no kuresige ni okipe ni pa kamo tuma yobapi petupe ni adi murasawagi momosiki no opomiyabito no makaridete asobu pune ni pa kadisawo mo nakute sabusi mo kogu pito nasi ni
Descended from heaven is Sacred Mount Kagu where Mists arise When the spring does come, The wind through the pines Raises waves from pond waters, and Cherry blossom’s Profusion shades the trees, while Out in the offing, Ducks call for a mate and On the shore Teals flock noisily; Hundredfold, The palace folk were wont to Travel out On pleasure boats, but Oars and poles Are there none—so sad— For there’s not a soul to row them…
The Right query why in the Left’s poem an annual festival should ‘recall olden times’, to which the Right respond that it is normal to compose poems about annual observances as if they had been discontinued and then revived. The Left make no comment about the Right’s poem.
Shunzei’s judgement is that, indeed, the Left’s poem had been composed as if an ancient rite had been revived and, furthermore with the reference to an ‘exceptional scene’ the intent had probably been to praise court festivals. Nevertheless, he has to adjudge the round a tie.
Again, the Right team have no comments to make about the Left’s poem this round, but the Left say the initial line of the Right’s poem is ‘unsatisfactory’. Shunzei, once again, agrees, remarking that, ‘the initial line sounds like the name of the tree used when referring to adding water to an ink-stone. Again, the Left is the winner.’ What he means by this is that toneriko, ‘guardsmen lads’ was homophonous with the word for ‘ash tree’. The old Japanese extracted a wax from ash trees, which was used to ease the running of sliding doors and shutters, and so by association, toneriko was used in poetry to refer to adding water to an ink-stone so that the ink, produced in solid sticks, would slide over it more easily. This image is inappropriate for a poem about the New Year Archery festival, and so the poem is of inferior quality, compared to the Left’s offering.