kimi ga yo no kazu nishi toraba uchinoboru sao no kawara no ishi mo taeji na The years of My Lord’s reign: Should I number up, then they would be as The upper courses of The banks of Sao River – Its stones never-ending!
oshikarade nage mo yararenu wa ga mi koso chibiki no ishi no tagui narikere With no regrets Inconstant not Am I: A stone a thousand might pull, That is how I am!
ishi wa samo tachikeru hito no kokoro sae katakado arite mie mo suru kana Such is the way with stones: Should the folk who place them, Within their hearts have but even A trace of talent, It is plain to see!
tanome nao kawase no isago toshi furite magō no ishi to naran yo made ni Ever believe in me! Until The sand grains in the river rapids Grow old with passing years, and Over the ages their grandstones do Come into this world!
Composed on the conception of Love and Stones.
wa ga sode Fa
siFoFi ni mienu
oki no isi no
Fito koso sirane
kaFaku ma zo naki My sleeves are
As unseen low-tide
Stones in the offing,
Unknown to all
They have not a moment dry.
Sanuki, from the Nijō Palace
chishima no oku o
tsubo no ishibumi My love
Has not the Thousand Islands
Barring it, yet
The barbarians cannot pass
The Stone at Tsubo – nor can I write to you!
kokoro ikue no
shinobu no oku o
tazuneiruran Dwelling on you,
My heart numberless
Peaks will cross
To the depths of Shinobu,
Perhaps to visit someone hidden there?
As the previous round.
In judgement: the Left’s ‘Thousand Islands’ (
chishima) is a familiar expression from the past, but I do not recall it being used in poetry. I am familiar with the Right’s ‘depths of Shinobu’ ( shinobu no oku), so that is better. Again, the Right wins.
kōri no kusabi
ishi ni kudakuru
mizu no shiranami The mountain stream’s
Broken on the rocks
In white-capped waves of water.
shita yuku nami no
usukōri kana With the breath of spring,
Flowing beneath, waves
In numbers can be seen;
Hardly any remains – just
A coating of ice.
Neither team have any comments to make about the other’s poem.
Shunzei remarks that the opening of the Left’s poem seems ‘old-fashioned’ (and hence is cliched). The conclusion is splendid, but would have been improve by the substitution of ‘crags’ (
iwa) for ‘rocks’ ( ishi). The Right’s poem, in the spirit of clarifying the numbers of waves of water flowing under a thin sheet of ice, ‘seems exceptional’, and so the latter poem is ‘slightly superior.’