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MYS VIII: 1556

A poem by Imube no obito Kuromaro

秋田刈る刈廬もいまだ壊たねば雁が音寒し霜も置きぬがに

akita karu
kari ipo mo imada
kopotaneba
kari ga ne samusi
simo mo okinu gani
Reaping autumn fields
My temporary harvest-hut is yet
To fall, but
The goose calls are so chill that
Frost seems sure to fall…

Imube no Kuromaro
忌部黒麿

Shunzei gosha hyakushu 77

夢路にはなれし宿見る現にて宇津の山辺の蔦ふける庵

yumeji ni wa
nareshi yado miru
utsutsu nite
utsu no yamabe no
tsuta fukeru io
Upon the path of dreams
I saw a house I used to know so well;
In reality, it is
Near to Utsu Moutain,
A hut all twined with ivy…

Fujiwara no Shunzei
藤原俊成

Autumn II: 17

Left.

幾夜とも宿は答へず門田吹稲葉の風の秋の音づれ

ikuyo tomo
yado wa kotaezu
kadotafuku
inaba no kaze no
aki no otozure
How many nights it’s been?
My home gives no reply;
Blowing ‘cross the field before my gates,
The wind among the rice stalks
Brings autumn calling…

Lord Sada’ie.

393

Right (Win).

わきてなど庵もる袖のしほるらん稲葉にかぎる秋の風かは

wakite nado
io moru sode no
shioruran
inaba ni kagiru
aki no kaze ka wa
Apart, and yet
Sleeves within the watchman’s hut
Are drenched;
Among none other than the rice-stalks
Is the autumn wind?

Nobusada.

394

The Right state that the Left’s ‘Blowing ‘cross the field before my gates’ (kadota fuku) is grating on the ear. In addition, ‘should one really expect an answer from a house?’ The Left simply say that they find the Right’s poem ‘good’.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Gentlemen of the Right have correctly identified two faults with the Left’s poem. The Right’s poem, on the other hand, in both diction and sentiment, is extremely charming, and the final section, in particular is most profound in form. I must make it the winner.

Autumn II: 16

Left (Tie).

秋田守る賤が庵に宿からんさても此世は過ぬべき身ぞ

akita moru
shizu ga iori ni
yado karan
satemo kono yo wa
suginubeki mi zo
The autumn paddies warding,
A peasant’s hut – there
Will I find lodging;
And thus, within this world
Will I be able to spend my time!

Lord Kanemune.

391

Right (Tie).

深からぬ山田の庵も秋はなを心のはては見つべかりけり

fukakaranu
yamada no io mo
aki wa nao
kokoro no hate wa
mitsubekarikeri
Not deep at all within
The mountain paddies is this hut, yet
Autumn, still,
My heart, to the brim,
Does fill…

Ietaka.

392

The Right complain that the Left’s poem ‘appears to be expressing somewhat outré sentiments’. The Left state on the other hand that the Right’s poem is ‘not bad’.

Shunzei’s judgement: the type of emotional import expressed in the Left’s poem is superlative. In The Tales of Ise, after all, there is the section on ‘gathering fallen ears of rice’ – most charming! To say that this is outré suggests a deficiency of understanding. The Right’s poem, too, conveys an emotional message. I must wonder about the use of ‘Not deep at all within’ (fukakaranu), but still, the round should tie.

Autumn II: 15

Left (Win).

遠近の庵に引板打つ音聞けばかたみに守るや秋の小山田

ochikochi no
io ni hita utsu
oto kikeba
katami ni moru ya
aki no oyamada
Both near and far
From huts the bird clappers sound;
Hearing it,
I wonder do they ward together
The little mountain paddies at autumn time…

Kenshō.

389

Right.

風吹けば山田の庵に音信て稲葉ぞ人を守り明しける

kaze fukeba
yamada no io ni
otozurete
inaba zo hito wo
moriakashikeru
When the wind does blow
To the mountain paddy huts
Comes the sound
Of rustling rice fronds; the folk within
Warding, wakeful, ‘til daybreak.

Jakuren.

390

The Right find no fault with the Left’s poem this round. The Left wonder about the suitability of the phrase ‘folk within warding’ (hito wo moru), to which the Right respond that the expression carries the sense of wakefulness.

Shunzei’s judgement: the Left has the sound of bird clappers jointly guarding the fields, the Right, the sound of rice stirred by the autumn wind rousing folk in their huts – both poems display a particular skill in terms of form, but perhaps at the expense of feeling. Furthermore, I am unable to apprehend the Right’s ‘rice fronds; the folk within warding’. The Left wins, by a small margin.

Autumn I: 14

Left (Tie).

稲妻の光にのみやなぐさめむ田中の里の夕闇の空

inazuma no
hikari ni nomi ya
nagusamemu
tanaka no sato no
yūyami no sora
Is it lightning’s
Light alone, that
Can console?
Dwelling among the rice-fields
Beneath the blackened evening sky.

Kenshō.

327

Right (Tie).

賤の男が山田の庵の苫を粗み漏る稲妻を友とこそ見れ

shitsu no o ga
yamada no io no
toma o arami
moru inazuma o
tomo to koso mire
A peasant in
The mountain fields, whose hut has
A rough roof of straw:
The lightning dripping in
Seems his single friend.

Lord Tsune’ie.

328

As with the previous round, neither team can find fault with the other’s poem.

Shunzei, however, says, ‘The initial part of the Left’s poem is fine, indeed, but one wonders where the “dwelling among the rice fields” (tanaka no sato) is. I wonder whether nowadays poets can simply refer to a house among the rice fields. I do seem to have heard it before, but for the life of me I cannot remember where. As for the Right’s poem, this, too, has a perfectly standard beginning, but then has the expression “lightning dripping” (moru inazuma) – this seems rather new-fangled to me! Both poems are about the same.’