Tag Archives: Iefusa

Spring I: 25

Left (Win).

けふは我君がみまへに取る文のさしてかたまる梓弓かな

kyō wa wa ga
kimi ga mimae ni
toru fumi no
sashite katamaru
azusayumi kana
Today to Our
Lord’s Presence
We take, missives
Attached and drawn tight,
Bows of catalpa wood…

A Servant Girl.

49

Right.

百敷や近きまもりの梓弓わが引く方ぞ心にはいる

momoshiki ya
chikaki mamori no
azusayumi
wa ga hiku kata zo
kokoro ni wa iru
Hundred-fold, the palace;
Close by, sentries with
Catalpa bows:
Drawing them,
Their hearts fly forth!

The Provisional Master of the Empress Household Office.

50

The Right team state simply that they ‘don’t understand the content’ of the Left’s poem, while the Left remark airily of the Right’s that it ‘hits the topic dead on!’ Nevertheless, Shunzei says that the Left’s poem, ‘seems charming, with its image of letters to His Majesty attached to staves’, and awards it the victory.

Spring I: 20

Left (Tie).

立わたる野邊の霞を煙にてもえ出にけるこれや若草

tachiwataru
nobe no kasumi o
keburi nite
moe’idenikeru
kore ya wakakusa
Spreading, everywhere,
Across the plain, the haze
Seems smoke:
Is the burning the buds
Of new-grown grass…

Lord Kanemune

39

Right (Tie).

もえ出づる野邊の春草末わかみ空とゝもにぞ淺緑なる

moeizuru
nobe no haru kusa
sue wakami
sora to tomo ni zo
asamidori naru
Shooting up
Across the plain, the grass’
Tips are so young
That, with the skies,
They celadon seem…

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.

40

Both teams say there is ‘nothing remarkable’ about the other’s poem, while Shunzei says simply the purport of both is ‘generally appropriate’ and that it would be ‘difficult to determine’ a winner.

Spring I: 14

Left (Tie).

氷ゐし水の白浪立かへり春風しるき池の面かな

kōri i
shimizu no shiranami
tachikaeri

harukaze shiruki
ike no omo kana
To the iced
Clear waters waves of white
Return again;
Spring’s breezes well know
This mere’s face.

Lord Sada’ie

27

Right (Tie).

諏方の海の氷のうへの通ひ路はけさ吹く風に跡絶えにけり

suwa no umi no
kōri no ue no
kayoiji wa
kesa fuku kaze ni
ato taenikeri
At the Sea of Suwa
Upon the ice
The trackways,
With the breath of wind this morning
Have left no trace at all…

The Master of the Empress’ Household Office.

28

The Right team state that the concluding line of the Left’s poem, ‘this mere’s face’ (ike no omo kana) is ‘weak’. The Left team reply that the first three lines of the Right’s poem are identical to those of a poem by Minamoto no Akinaka (1064-1138), in the Hundred Poem Sequence from the Reign of Former Emperor Horikawa (a sequence composed by a number of poets between 1104-07 and presented to Horikawa):

諏方の海の氷のうへの通ひ路は神の渡りて解くるなりけり

suFa no umi no
koFori no uFe no
kayoFidi Fa
kami no watarite
tokuru narikeri
At the Sea of Suwa
Upon the ice
The trackways,
With the passage of the God
Have melted.

and that this gave the poem its idea.

Shunzei comments that ‘waters waves of white/Return again’ is a ‘well-worn’ image with nothing special about it, and the Right team have already identified the weakness of the final line, and, of course, it ‘could not be as strong as a Deva King!’ As for the Right’s poem, he accepts the point made by the Left, but as it is not well-known that even in Hundred Poem sequences there are examples which are not ‘excellent work’, it is difficult to completely avoid composing poems with conceptions that resemble them. Thus, the round has to be a tie.

Spring I: 7

Left (Tie).

なを冴ゆるけしきにしるし山ざくらまだ冬ごもる梢なるらん

nao sayuru
keshiki ni shirushi
yamazakura
mada fuyugomoru
kozue naruran
Still so clear
Is the scene: it must be a sign that
Mountain cherries are
Yet sealed in winter,
Outstanding on the treetops…

Lord Suetsune

13

Right (Tie).

したふべき冬には雪のをくれゐて春ともいはず冴えわたるらん

shitaubeki
fuyu ni wa yuki no
okureite
haru tomo iwazu
saewataruran
How it must long for
Winter – the snow
Remains,
Though ‘tis spring, needless to say:
That is clear, indeed!

The Provisional Assistant Master of the Empress’ Household Office

14

The Right state that as the entirety of the topic is expressed in the first line of the Left’s poem, it lack care [nen nashi]. The Left respond that saying that the characters of the topic appear in the first line of our poem suggest the Right is unable to count correctly! As for the Right’s poem, we find no particular faults, but it is ordinary [mezurashiki ni arazu].

Shunzei’s judgement: The form of both poems is splendid [sugata wa yū ni koso haberumere]. In general, the mass of modern composition, whether or not it shows understanding of the form and diction of poetry [kinrai no utayomi no tomogara, sugata kotoba wa shireru ka shirazaru ka], also frequently fails to show enough attention to details of techique [bimyō no fūjō] and that I have cause to say this is certainly not laudable [kanshin serezaru koto]. However, the Right’s ‘the snow remains’ (yuki no okureite), seems somewhat contrived [sukoshi omoubeku], though the final one is excellent [yoroshikuhaberu]. Thus, it’s impossible to distinguish between the two poems.

Spring I: 6

Left (Win).

袖交す御階のきはに年ふりていくたび春をよそにむかへつ

sode kawasu
mihashi no kiwa ni
toshi furite
ikutabi haru o
yoso ni mukaetsu
Sleeve brushes sleeve
On the palace walkways’ edge
Year on top of year;
How many springtimes
Have I but distantly seen it in?

Lord Kanemune

11

Right.

いつしかと御階のきはに節に會大宮人や春を知るらん

itsushika to
mihashi no kiwa ni
sechi ni au
ōmiyabito ya
haru o shiruran
Soon, indeed,
On the palace walkways’ edge
The season-greeting banquet will come
Upon the palace-folk; is that how
They know it’s spring?

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office

12

Shunzei awards victory to Kanemune’s poem for its fine use of ‘palace walkways’ (mihashi) and ‘how many springtimes’ (ikutabi haru), while finding the Right team’s poem ‘splendidly constructed, but insufficiently clear’, as it doesn’t explicitly mention ‘sechie’ – a particular palace New Year banquet – although it does contain all the relevant characters.