natsu kureba kami ni aoi no kusa tsumite kazashi ni inoru hito ni bakari zo When the summer comes For the God, hollyhocks Are plucked, and for a Prayer placed in the hair of All folk, every one!
natsu kusa mo shigerinikereba suruga naru tago no ura nae ima ya hikuran The summer grasses, too, Have grown lush, so As Suruga’s Tago Bay, Do they now extend their charm?
natsumushi no yadoru ni matsu wa iro narade haru aki sora ni utsuroi ya suru The summer insects Lodge upon the pines Unchanging hues; Is it the spring and autumn skies Which fade away?
u no hana no saku natsu no yo wa yami naredo kakine ni yadoru tsuki ka to zo miru The deutzia flowers Bloom upon a summer night ‘Tis dark, yet Lodged upon my brushwood fence I wonder if I see the moon?
satsuki kinu koto katarawamu hototogisu kimi ni auchi no hana mo sakikeri That the Fifth Month has come Is announced by The cuckoo: For you, the chinaberry Blossoms, too, have bloomed.
utsusemi no kara ni wa arade oku tsuyu no mi o aratamuru kokoro narubeshi A cicada’s shed Shell I am not, for The dripping dew Does refresh my flesh, or So my heart seems to feel.
A profusion of deutzia flowers in full bloom
shirotae ni u no hana sakeru kakine o ba tsumorishi yuki to omoikeru kana A spread of white mulberry cloth, The deutzias have bloomed Along my brushwood fence Drifting snow is piled, or So it seems!
Minamoto no Narikata
miwatseba takane no nobe no utsugiwara mina shirotae ni sakinikeru kana When I gaze across The high-peak meadows A field of deutzia, All as white as mulberry cloth, Have bloomed there.
Ōe no Fumi’ichi
Ancient Estates 故郷
ta ga yado to shiranedo kanashi furusato no hodo wa kakine ni mieshi watareba Whose lodging this is I know not – ‘tis sad; How ancient this estate Its brushwood fence Revealed as I passed by…
kesa mizu wa
kakine ni shiroku
sakeru u no hana This morning I failed to see, but
On the lattice fence brightly
Blooming for deutzia…
Ōe no Masafusa
This poem is also
sode no yosome wa
wasurezu ya to mo
iu hima zo naki Tears are dammed upon
My sleeves, and within eyesight
Does she sit arrayed, but
‘Have you not forgotten me?’ –
To ask that, I have no chance!
ume ga e no
sue kosu naka no
omou kokoro ya
iro ni miemashi The plum branches’
Tips cross beyond
Her fence, so
Will the love within my heart
Appear plain before her?
Both teams state there are no faults with their opponent’s poem.
In judgement: the Gentlemen of both Left and Right have stated that there are no faults with the style of either poem. I accept that and will make this round a tie.
Composed on a fence, covered with deutzia blooms.
idure wo ka
kakine tsuduki ni
sakeru u no Fana Where
Do they part, I wonder?
This mountain dwelling’s
Fence, joined with
Ōe no Motofusa
kakine no hikage
tsuyu ni zo utsuru
hana no yūgao Facing the single mountainside
In evening sunlight upon the fence
Glistening with dew,
Is a bloom of moonflower.
A Servant Girl.
yū tsuyu ni
himo toku hana no
hikari ari to wa Plucked, that
I might gaze upon her,
Touched with evening dew,
Her belt undoing, this blossom
Is lustrous, indeed!
The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.
The Right wonder whether the Left’s poem, ‘lacks the emotional import of the topic [dai no kokoro kasuka ni ya], despite the mention of moonflowers?’ The Left counter that, ‘The Right’s poem simplistically recalls
The Tale of Genji [ genji no monogatari bakari o omoeru]– is this appropriate in a poetry contest [ uta’awase no akashi to nasu ni, ikaga]?’
Shunzei states, ‘The Left certainly does lack the emotional import of the topic. Moreover, it does not use the expression “moonflower blossom” (
yūgao no hana), but “bloom of moonflower” ( hana no yūgao). This, too, is contrary to the topic [ dai no mama narade] and, I have to say, an unusual choice of expression. The Right’s poem does simply refer to The Tale of Genji, but in form it cannot be said to be anything less than superb [ utazama yū narazaru ni wa arazaru]. It is superior to a “bloom of moonflower”.’
natsu kusa no
moto mo harawanu
tsuyu yori ue o
kaze kayounari The summer grasses
Are yet uncut
At this ancient home of mine;
Over the fallen dewdrops,
The sound of gusting wind…
A Servant Girl.
natsu kusa no
naka o tsuyukemi
wakuru no wa
wa ga furusato no
kakine narikeri Within the summer grasses
Forging ‘cross the plain and
My ancient home’s
Brushwood fence appears.
The Right team query, ‘How is it that the wind can pass “over the fallen dewdrops” (
tsuyu yori ue o)?’ The Left content themselves with saying that the Right’s poem is ‘difficult to grasp’.
Shunzei, though, remarks, ‘The Left’s “over the fallen dewdrops” is a wonderfully charming expression. It is the initial “are yet uncut” (
moto mo harawanu) which is extremely difficult to understand. The Right’s configuration and diction seem particularly fine [ sugata kotoba yoroshiku koso haberumere], though, so it is, just, the winner.’