Tag Archives: Jien

Love IX: 12

Left (Win)
住みなれし人はこずゑに絶えはてて琴の音にのみ通ふ松風

suminareshi
hito wa kozue ni
taehatete
koto no ne ni nomi
kayou matsukaze
Accustomed to his being here,
Now, he comes not and from the treetops
All that endures
Are my zither’s strains,
Blending with the pines.

Lord Ari’ie
1103

Right
聞かじただつれなき人の琴の音にいとはず通ふ松の風をば

kikaji tada
tsurenaki hito no
koto no ne ni
itowazu kayou
matsu no kaze o ba
I will listen no more!
To that cruel man’s
Zither strains
Heedlessly blending
With the wind from off the pines…

Nobusada
1104

The Right state: it sounds as if the man is enduring on the treetops. The Left state: ‘I will listen no more!’ (kikaji tada) is extremely coarse.

In judgement: while it may sound as if the man is enduring on the treetops in the Left’s poem, this is no more than a standard use of metaphorical expression, and the configuration of ‘accustomed to his being here, now, he comes not and from the treetops’ (suminareshi hito wa kozue ni) sounds fine, with the latter part of the poem also being elegant. The initial line of the Right’s poem has a conception of closing up the ears to block one’s auditory sense, which seems excessive. Clearly, the Left’s ‘my zither’s strains’ (koto no ne ni nomi) must win.

Love IX: 2

Left (Tie)
よそにのみ隣の笛を聞き来しに我身の上に音こそ絶えせね

yoso ni nomi
tonari no fue o
kikikoshi ni
wa ga mi no ue ni
ne koso taesene
Simply a stranger to me is
The flute from next door
Drifting to my ear, but
Upon me fall
Nothing but endless cries.

Lord Ari’ie
1083

Right
夜もすがらよそに聞きつる笛の音の片敷く袖に移りぬる哉

yomosugara
yoso ni kikitsuru
fue no ne no
katashiku sode ni
utsurinuru kana
All through the night
I heard a strange
Flute’s strains;
On a single spread sleeve
Have they come to rest…

Nobusada
1084

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to mention. The Left state: we wonder about the appropriateness of the sound of a flute coming to rest on sleeves?

In judgement: both poems are about the ‘sounds of a flute’, with the Left having them ‘upon me fall’ (wa ga mi no ue ni) endlessly, and the Right resting ‘on a single spread sleeve’ (katashiku sode ni). Neither has a conception of love which is greater or lesser than the other. I must make this round a tie.

Love VIII: 28

Left (Win)
あはれにぞ鳴あかすなる蛬われのみしぼる袖かと思ふに

aware ni zo
nakiakasunaru
kirigirisu
ware nomi shiboru
sode ka to omou ni
How sad it is –
Crying with the dawn is
The cricket, though
I alone am wringing
Out my sleeves, I feel.

Lord Suetsune
1075

Right
露深きあはれを思へきりぎりす枕の下の秋の夕暮

tsuyu fukaki
aware o omoe
kirigirisu
makura no shita no
aki no yūgure
Deep in dew and
Sad, I wish you were,
O, cricket,
Beneath my pillow
On this autumn evening…

Nobusada
1076

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults we can mention. The Gentlemen of the Left state: our feelings are the same as those of the Right

In judgement: both Left and Right are on ‘crickets’ (kirigirisu) and their configuration and diction sound equally elegantly beautiful. I feel that the Right, with ‘deep in dew and sad, I wish you were’ (tsuyu fukaki aware o omoe), is somewhat lacking in the conception of the poet’s own love, but the Left, with ‘I alone am wringing out my sleeves, I feel’ (ware nomi shiboru sode ka to omou ni), has an excellent conception of love, so I must state that the Left is the winner.

Love VIII: 24

Left (Tie)
この比の心の底をよそに見ば鹿鳴く野邊の秋の夕暮

kono koro no
kokoro no soko o
yoso ni miba
shika naku nobe no
aki no yūgure
Of late
Of the depths of my heart
Were you to catch a distant glimpse:
A stag belling in the meadow
On an autumn evening…

A Servant Girl
1067

Right
暮れかゝる裾野の露に鹿鳴きて人待つ袖も涙そふ也

kurekakaru
susono no tsuyu ni
shika nakite
hito matsu sode mo
namida sou nari
Twilight
Drapes dewfall on the mountains’ skirts,
With a stag’s sad cry;
Awaiting him, my sleeves, too,
Are wet with tears.

Nobusada
1068

Left and Right together: we find no faults to mention.

In judgement: it would be impossible to ever exhaust the overtones of feeling in ‘a stag belling in the meadow on an autumn evening’ (shika naku nobe no aki no yūgure) in the Left’s poem; in the Right’s poem the configuration and conception of ‘awaiting him, my sleeves, too, are wet with tears’ (hito matsu sode mo namida sou nari) is richly evocative. I find it extremely hard to put both poems down, so this round, again, is a tie of quality.

Love VIII: 16

Left
玉章のたえだえになるたぐひかな雲井に雁の見えみ見えずみ

tamazusa no
taedae ni naru
tagui kana
kumoi ni kari no
miemi miezumi
His jewelled missives
Have become intermittent
It seems, just like
The geese up in the skies,
Glimpsed, and then not seen at all…

Lord Ari’ie
1051

Right (Win)
思かぬる夜はの袂に風ふけて涙の河に千鳥鳴くなり

omoikanuru
yowa no tamoto ni
kaze fukete
namida no kawa ni
chidori nakunari
Unable to bear my love,
At midnight my sleeve is
Stirred by the wind, and
Upon a river of tears
The plovers are crying…

Nobusada
1052

The Gentlemen of the Right state: we find no faults to mention in the Left’s poem. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we wonder about the reason for emphasising ‘upon a river of tears the plovers’ (namida no kawa ni chidori).

In judgement: the Left on a lover’s letters becoming intermittent, and saying ‘the geese up in the skies, glimpsed, and then not seen at all’ (kumoi ni kari no miemi miezumi) has a charming conception, and elegant diction. The Right, saying ‘at midnight my sleeve is stirred by the wind’ (yowa no tamoto ni kaze fukete) and continuing ‘the plovers are crying’ (chidori nakunari) has a configuration and diction which sounds fine, too. The criticisms of the Gentlemen of the Left are nothing more than ‘a fisherman fishing beneath his pillow’! Although the conception of the Left’s poem is charming, the configuration of the Right’s poem is slightly more notable, so it should win.

Love VIII: 9

Left (Tie)
何とかく結ぼほるらん君はよもあはれとだにも岩代の松

nani to kaku
musubohoruran
kimi wa yomo
aware to dani mo
iwashiro no matsu
For what should we be so
Entwined?
He simply
Thinks of me with pity,
And says nothing, O pines of Iwashiro!

Lord Kanemune
1037

Right
人戀ふる宿の櫻に風吹けば花も涙になりにけるかな

hito kouru
yado no sakura ni
kaze fukeba
hana mo namida ni
narinikeru kana
Loving him,
My dwelling’s cherry trees
Are blown by the wind,
Petals, my tears
Have become…

Nobusada
1038

The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to mention. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we wonder about the appropriateness of ‘petals, my tears’ (hana mo namida ni).

In judgement: the Left’s poem, with ‘he simply’ (kimi wa yomo) followed by ‘Thinks of me with pity, O pines of Iwashiro!’ (aware to dani mo iwashiro no matsu) is certainly elegant. The Right’s poem does have ‘petals, my tears’ (hana mo namida ni). It commences, ‘loving him, my dwelling’s cherry trees’ (hito kouru yado no sakura) and, when they are blown by the wind, the lady’s eyes darken with tears, and she is unable to distinguish the mass of blossom. It unclear which of the two should be winner, or loser. Thus, I shall make this a tie.

Love VII: 27

Left.
かくこそは長柄の橋も絶えしかど柱ばかりは名殘やはなき

kaku koso wa
nagara no hashi mo
taeshikado
hashira bakari wa
nagori ya wa naki
And so it is that
The bridge at Nagara
Has ceased to be, yet
Are there not even pillars
In remembrance of what’s gone?

Lord Ari’ie
1013

Right (Win).
今も猶長柄の橋は作りてんつれなき戀は跡だにもなし

ima mo nao
nagara no hashi wa
tsukuriten
tsurenaki koi wa
ato dani mo nashi
Even now is
The bridge at Nagara
Being built?
Of this cruel love
Not even a trace remains…

Nobusada
1014

The Right state: it is certainly possible to say that the ‘bridge at Nagara’ has ‘rotted’ (kutsu), but there are, we think, no other examples of it ‘ceasing’ (tayu). The Left state: we wonder about the appropriateness of saying ‘love not a trace’ (koi ni ato nashi).

In judgement: both poems refer to ‘the bridge at Nagara’ and, as has been mentioned by the Gentlemen of the Right in their criticism, the Left uses ‘has ceased to be, yet’ (taeshikado); there are many poems using ‘rotted’, because this is what happens to the pillars of bridges. After this bridge ceased to be, the pillars would still be rotting away. If you have the bridge ‘being built’ (tsukuru nari), why would you not then have it ‘ceasing’? That being said, I am only accustomed to hearing ‘bridge pillars’ (hashibashira), and having only ‘pillars’ (hashira) sounds completely lacking in logic. The Right’s poem uses ‘love not a trace’ (koi ato nashi): it is entirely natural for a variety of different things not to leave a trace. The current criticism must be due to there not being a prior example of this usage, but it is particularly difficult to say this about the initial section of the poem. The Right wins.

Love VII: 24

Left (Tie).
故郷に見し面影も宿りけり不破の関屋の板間洩る月

furusato ni
mishi omokage mo
yadorikeri
fuwa no sekiya no
itama moru tsuki
Back home
I saw her face, and
It lodges here,
At the Barrier House at Fuwa,
In the moonlight leaking through the boards.

A Servant Girl
1007

Right.
人恋ふる我ながめよ思けり須磨の関屋の有明の月

hito kouru
ware nagameyo
omoikeri
suma no sekiya no
ariake no tsuki
Loving you,
I will ever gaze,
I thought,
At the Barrier House at Suma
On the dawntime moon.

Nobusada
1008

The Right state: the Left’s poem is good. The Left state: the Right’s poem lacks any faults to indicate.

In judgement: the Left’s ‘Barrier House at Fuwa’ (fuwa no sekiya) followed by ‘the moonlight leaking through the boards’ (itama moru tsuki) is truly charming. In addition, if one wonders why ‘I saw her face’ (mishi omokage mo) has been used, it is certainly reminiscent of the poem ‘The dawntime moon, too, lodges in the waters clear’, but an improvement on it. It is difficult to say, however, that the Right’s ‘At the Barrier House at Suma on the dawntime moon’ (suma no sekiya no ariake no tsuki) is in any way inferior.

Love VII: 13

Left (Tie).
聞きわたるありなれ河の水にこそ影を傡べて住まゝほしけれ

kikiwataru
arinaregawa no
mizu ni koso
kage o narabete
sumamahoshikere
Echoes cross
The Arinare River’s
Waters;
Bringing to mind the face
Of the one I would be with…

Kenshō
985

Right.
涙川逢ふ瀬も知らぬみをつくし丈越す程になりにけるかな

namidagawa
ause mo shiranu
miotsukushi
take kosu hodo ni
narinikeru kana
A river of tears:
I know no way for us to meet, so
The channel buoys, my soul,
Are flooded over –
That is how they be!

Nobusada
986

The Gentlemen of the Right state: we are not accustomed to hearing the expression ‘Arinare River’ (arinaregawa), and the ending of the poem is old-fashioned. The Gentlemen of the Left state: ‘are flooded over’ (take kosu hodo) sounds excessively modern.

In judgement: ‘Arinare River’ is unusual, and the final section of the Left’s poem is certainly old-fashioned. The ‘river of tears’’ (namidagawa) ‘channel buoys’ (miotsukushi) do seem to be enduring an excess of water, don’t’ they! The round should tie.

Love VII: 11

Left (Tie).
遠ざかる人の心は海原の沖行く舟の跡の潮風

tōzakaru
hito no kokoro wa
unabara no
oki yuku funa no
ato no shiokaze
Ever more distant grows
His heart:
Into the sea-plains of
The offing goes a boat,
Wake touched by the tidewinds…

Lord Sada’ie
981

Right.
わたつ海の浪のあなたに人は住む心あらなん風の通ひ路

wata tsu umi no
nami no anata ni
hito wa sumu
kokoro aranan
kaze no kayoiji
The endless sea:
Beyond its waves
Does my love live;
Had they any pity,
The winds would make my path to her!

Nobusada
982

The Gentlemen of the Right state: there are too many uses of no. Would it not have been better to reduce their number with, for example, ‘o, sea-plains!’ (unabara ya)? We also wonder about the use of ‘wake touched by the tidewinds’ (ato no shiokaze). The Gentlemen of the Left state: ‘does my love live’ (hito wa sumu) is grating on the ear.

In judgement: saying that the Left’s poem has too many identical words is clearly relying upon the long-established hornet-hip or crane-knee faults. In today’s poetry there are countless poems in which these faults can be identified. In addition, ‘into the sea-plains’ (unabara no) and ‘o, sea-plains’ (unabara ya) are the same. I may be wrong here, but it seems to me that in this poem, it has to be ‘into the sea-plains’. Finally, ‘wake touched by the tidewinds’ is elegant. As for the Right’s ‘beyond its waves does my love live’ (nami no anata ni hito wa sumu), this is not grating, is it? It seems that the Gentleman of the Right, being so well-read in Chinese scholarship, has required revisions to the faulty poem of the Left in the absence of the judge. Thus, what can a grand old fool do but make the round a tie.