Tag Archives: imo

Love X: 1

Left
蘆間分け月にうたひて漕ぐ舟に心ぞまづは乗りうつりぬる

ashima wake
tsuki ni utaite
kogu fune ni
kokoro zo mazu wa
nori’utsurinuru
Parting the reeds, and
Singing to the moon,
Boats come rowing out –
My heart, it is, that is first
Aboard and carried away…

Kenshō
1141

Right (Win)
浪の上にくだるを舟のむやひして月にうたひし妹ぞ戀しき

nami no ue ni
kudaru o fune no
muyaishite
tsuki ni utaishi
imo zo koishiki
Upon the waves,
Her boat departs,
Vanishing into the mist;
That moon-sung
Girl is dear to me, indeed!

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office
1142

The Right state: the Left’s poem lacks much of a conception of pleasure girls. In appeal: the poem was written in the conception of Mochitoki’s Chinese poem on pleasure girls ‘the reed-leaves are fresh in springtime’. The Left state: the Right’s poem has nothing worth mentioning.

In judgement: is the conception of pleasure girls really absent from the Left’s ‘parting the reeds, and singing to the moon’ (ashima wake tsuki ni utaite)? The case certainly cannot rely on ‘the reed-leaves are fresh in springtime’. A Chinese poem expresses its topic in its initial line. It is normal for the introduction of the topic to be vague. Japanese and Chinese poetry have aspects where they are similar, and aspects where they differ. Thus, it is not appropriate to cite a Chinese poem’s broaching of its topic as evidence for a Japanese poem’s content. There are certainly other examples by Mochitoki, such as his overlong line in ‘in a boat atop the waves, but I find the same pleasure in life’. The line about reed-leaves can in no way function as proof. Thus this poem, as ‘an old fisherman sings a single shanty’ could be said to be about an old man. As a result, given the lack of clarity in the poem, it is not possible to accept that it is about a pleasure girl. The Right’s poem concludes ‘that moon-sung girl is dear to me, indeed’ (tsuki ni utaishi imo zo koishiki). The final line seems to be almost pointlessly pedestrian, but the poem is certainly about love for a pleasure girl. The Right must win.

Love IX: 18

Left
いとはれて胸やすからぬ思をば人の上にぞ書きうつしつる

itowarete
mune yasukaranu
omoi o ba
hito no ue ni zo
kakiutsushitsuru
Being despised
And my unquiet heart
Filled with feelings
Upon her
I paint them out!

Kenshō
1115

Right (Win)
いかにせん絵にかく妹にあらねどもまこと少き人心かな

ika ni sen
e ni kaku imo ni
aranedomo
makoto sukunaki
hitogokoro kana
What am I to do?
A lady painted in a picture
She is not, yet
How lacking are
Her feelings!

Nobusada
1116

The Right state: what is the Left’s poem about? In appeal: it reflects Changkang, who, feeling a woman living next door was beautiful, painted her and was then able to meet her. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.

In judgement: I, too, was unsure of the meaning of ‘my unquiet heart filled with feelings upon her’ (mune yasukaranu omoi woba hito no ue ni zo), and after reading the Left’s response, I am still unclear. In general, in these cases it is customary to cite the source of such things, and to hear of such wide reading is interesting indeed, but this is simply, ‘it reflects Changkang, who, feeling a woman living next door was beautiful, painted her and was then able to meet her’, so it would be difficult to locate within the usual Three Histories; furthermore, I have no recollection of a person named in this Chinese manner, and so an ignorant old man like myself can only ask, who is this Nagayasu? More importantly, though, I do not feel the conception of this poem is particularly well-matched to the topic. The Right’s ‘a lady painted in a picture’ (e ni kaku imo) is a little over-explicit, but ‘how lacking are’ (makoto sukunaki) would seem to be in the style of the Kazan Archbishop, and as I feel this is easier to understand than Nagayasu, I make the Right the winner.

Love IX: 15

Left (Win)
思あまり絵にかきとめてなぐさむる妹が上にも涙落ちけり

omoi amari
e ni kakitomete
nagusamuru
imo ta ue ni mo
namida ochikeri
Too much in love
I paint a picture for
Consolation, but
Upon my darling
Tears fall…

Lord Kanemune
1109

Right
かきとめて変らぬ色もをみなへしあはれと見れば露ぞこぼるる

kakitomete
kawaranu iro mo
ominaeshi
aware to mireba
tsuyu zo koboruru
Painted in
Changeless hues is my love –
A maidenflower
I glimpse in sorrow,
Drenched with dew…

Ietaka
1110

The Right state: the Left’s poem certainly has no faults. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no conception of Love.

In judgement: both Gentlemen’s pictures are ‘painted’ (kakitomete), with the Left then using ‘upon my darling’ (imo ga ue ni mo), which certainly has a conception of love. The Right simply draws a picture of a maidenflower and drenches it with dew, so it does not seem as if he is being moved by the sight of a person. Thus, again, the Left seems the superior poem.

Love VIII: 20

Left (Tie)
いかにしてつれなき中を渡るべき足の音もせぬ駒のありとも

ika ni shite
tsurenaki naka o
watarubeki
ashi no oto mo senu
koma no aritomo
How, indeed,
To one so heartless
Can I make my way across?
Even a silent-footed
Steed had I to ride…

Lord Suetsune
1059

Right (Win)
道遠み妹がりがりいそぐその駒に草取り飼はんなづみもぞする

michi tōmi
imogari isogu
sono koma ni
kusa torikawan
nazumi mo zo suru
Long is the road
To go swiftly seek my darling, so
For my steed
I’ll go gather grasses
That he not tire along the way…

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office
1060

The Gentlemen of the Right state: we wonder about the appropriateness of making one’s way across when there is no ‘bridge’? The Gentlemen of the Left state: there are no faults to indicate in the Right’s poem.

In judgement: the gentleman of the Left has composed his poem referring to the conception of the Man’yō poem ‘A silent-footed / Colt I’d have: / In Kashitsuka, / The clapper bridge at Mama / To ceaselessly traverse!’, but must have misplaced the bridge somewhere. Truly, I do wonder how it is possible to make one’s way across in the absence of a bridge. Although to say ‘for my steed I’ll go gather grasses’ (sono koma ni kusa torikawan) is something commonplace, doing it to prevent one’s mount getting tired, despite the length of the journey, seems better than lacking a bridge.

Love VII: 28

Left.
われが身や長柄の橋の橋柱恋に朽ちなん名をば残して

ware ga mi ya
nagara no hashi no
hashibashira
koi ni kuchinan
na o ba nokoshite
Is my body as
The broken bridge at Nagara’s
Bridge pillars?
Eaten away by love
Is all they’ll say when I am gone…

Lord Kanemune
1015

Right (Win).
崩れゆく板田の橋もさもあらばあれ我を恋ふべき妹ならばこそ

kuzureyuku
itada no hashi mo
sa mo araba
are ware o koubeki
imo naraba koso
Collapsing is
The bridge at Itada:
Should that be, then
Love for me from
My darling will do the same!

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress Household Office
1016

The Right state: clichéd from beginning to end. The Left state: the style of the Right’s poem is unattractive.

In judgement: the second and third lines are certainly old-fashioned. I also cannot call the poem tasteful, because the initial line of it is unattractive. The style of the Right’s poem is not particularly elegant, but the Left is old-fashioned, so the Right wins.

Saishō chūjō kuninobu no ie no uta’awase 15

Left (Win).
恋ひわびて片敷く袖はかへせどもいつかは妹が夢に見えける

koFiwabite
katasiku sode Fa
kaFesedomo
itu ka Fa imo ga
yume ni miekeru
Tortured with love
My single spread sleeve
I do reverse, yet
When will my darling
Appear in my dreams?

The Holy Teacher 闍梨
[Ryūgen 隆源]
29

Right.
我が心ときぞともなく乱るれど日だに暮るれば恋ひ添はりけり

wa ga kokoro
toki zo tomonaku
midaruredo
Fi dani kurureba
koFisoFarikeri
My heart
With every passing hour
Is more distraught, yet
Even when the day does dim
Love is my companion.

Bichū 備中
[Minamoto no Nakazane 源仲実]
30