Tag Archives: kawa

Love IX: 19

Left
戀衣いつか干るべき河社しるしも浪にいとゞしほれて

koigoromo
itsuka hirubeki
kawa yashiro
shirushi mo nami ni
itodo shiorete
My clothes of love,
When might they dry?
A river shrine
Has had no effect – the waves
Dampen them all the more…

Kenshō
1117

Right (Win)
いかで猶夜半の衣を返しても重ねしほどの夢をだに見ん

ikade nao
yowa no koromo o
kaeshitemo
kasaneshi hodo no
yume o dani min
What to do? Again
My night time garb
Inside out I turn –
As many layers
As dreams, if only I would see…

Takanobu
1118

The Right state: there are a number of different theories about the source poem ‘stems of bamboo wave freely the clothes I’d dry’ (shino ni orihae hosu koromo), so how should the allusion here be correctly understood? In response: this refers to a summer performance of sacred music and dance. In this, sprigs of sakaki are placed in clear water, and bamboo stems are hung from the shelf as offerings. This is the river shrine (kawa yashiro). It appears in the records about sacred music in summer. Standard sacred music is performed to pray to the gods. Thus, if one is made to bear the weight of something one has not done, the feeling is close to the conception of damp clothes, is it not? And this is associated with the clothes of lovers that will not dry. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.

In judgement:  the Left’s poem seems to be more about a ‘river shrine’ than ‘lovers’ clothing’ (koigoromo). While it is not entirely clear, the Left and Right’s criticism and response, are certainly unusual. There are two poems which are possible as sources for this, both of which appear in Tsurayuki’s Collection. These are: ‘At a river shrine / Stems of bamboo wave freely / The clothes I’d dry / How should I do so? / Seven days still damp…’  and:

行く水のうへにいはへる河社河浪高くあそぶなるかな

yuku mizu no
ue ni iwaeru
kawa yashiro
kawa nami takaku
asobunaru kana
The waters run, and
Above them in celebration is
A river shrine;
The river’s waves rise high,
Taking pleasure in their play!

This latter is a poem from a folding screen with pictures of each of the moons of the year, painted in the Tenryaku Era. Moreover, in a work by Lord Toshiyori, he says, ‘There is no one today who knows what a “river shrine” is. All we can do now is guess. So people say that it was a shrine on top of the water, where sacred music was performed in summer. The latter poem certainly does not seem to have this meaning. The former makes no mention of sacred music, and simply talks of clothing one has wanted to dry for a long time not drying.’ In addition, I have questioned a member of a household familiar with sacred music about this matter, and been told, ‘Where summer sacred music is concerned, there is a particular way of it. It is definitely absent from the records.’ Furthermore, Toshiyori played the double-reed flute. He would clearly have known all about sacred music, and around this time wrote, ‘first of all, there is no one who knows of this,’ and yet the Left’s response simply states, ‘it appears in the records about sacred music.’ This is something which requires greater proof. If the gentleman of the Left is able to provide some now, this would be a fine thing for the Way of Music! These, in brief, are my thoughts on this matter and, of course, the Left’s response.

First, it is a mistake to say that the river shrine is necessarily connected with summer sacred music. Summer sacred music is just what it sounds like: in summer, sacred music is performed, but not in any fixed way. However, here summer sacred music is done before a river shrine. Kawa yashiro shino ni is an old term for widely or ordinarily. It appears to have been used this way in the Collection of a Myriad Leaves. Orihaete has the same meaning. In the phrase ‘drying a robe / seven days undrying’ (hosu koromo / nanoka hizu) seven, or eight, days is simply a poetic convention for conveying that something was not dry after a long time. The ‘robe’ is not really a piece of clothing, but something which resembles it, and which is not dry. Ise said of the so-called Ryūmon Waterfall, ‘So why should the mountain’s princess rinse her cloth’ (nani yama hime no nuno sarasuramu) and also there are expressions such as ‘Nunohiki Falls’. Thus we have the Left’s argument for the summer sacred music platform, and then Lord Toshiyori’s writings; further, on the term shino ‘bamboo hung from the shelf as an offering to the gods’ and ‘clothing has the conception of damp clothing’. This is a remarkable way of interpreting the poem, indeed! The only way to settle the matter would be with the presentation of definite proof. So, this is certainly something which His Grace should request for review. In short, the Left’s poem, beginning with the idea that lovers’ clothing is to pray at a river shrine, and then saying ‘it has no effect’ (shirushi mo nami ni) seems like everlasting bitterness. The Right’s poem says ‘my night time garb inside out I turn’ (yowa no koromo o kaeshitemo), which is quite ordinary. In the absence of definite proof for the Left’s contentions, the Right must win.

Ietaka-kyō hyakuban jika’awase 2

Left
けふも猶雪はふりつつ春霞たてるやいづこ若菜つみてむ

kyō mo nao
yuki wa furitsutsu
harugasumi
tateru ya izuko
wakana tsumitemu
Still yet, today
Is the snow falling;
O, spring haze
Where do you arise?
For I would go and pluck fresh herbs!

3
In no hyakushu, shodo, Eighth Month Shōji 2 [September 1200]

Right
朝氷たがため分て此川のむかへの野べに若菜つむらん

asagōri
ta ga tame wakete
kono kawa no
mukae no nobe ni
wakana tsumuran
This film of morning ice:
For who’s sake do I break it?
On this river’s
Yonder side within the fields
Would I pluck fresh herbs…

4
Naidaijinke hyakushu, Ninth Month Kenpō 3 [October 1215]

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.

MYS XVII: 4003

A poem with two envoys, composed in respectful response to Tachiyama.

朝日さし そがひに見ゆる 神ながら 御名に帯ばせる 白雲の 千重を押し別け 天そそり 高き立山 冬夏と 別くこともなく 白栲に 雪は降り置きて 古ゆ あり来にければ こごしかも 岩の神さび たまきはる 幾代経にけむ 立ちて居て 見れども異し 峰高み 谷を深みと 落ちたぎつ 清き河内に 朝さらず 霧立ちわたり 夕されば 雲居たなびき 雲居なす 心もしのに 立つ霧の 思ひ過ぐさず 行く水の 音もさやけく 万代に 言ひ継ぎゆかむ 川し絶えずは

asapi sasi
sogapi ni miyuru
kamu nagara
mina ni obasesu
sirakumo no
tipe wo osiwake
ama sosori
takaki tatiyama
puyu natu to
waku koto mo naku
sirotape ni
yuki pa puri okite
inisipe yu
arikinikereba
kogosikamo
ipa no kamusabi
tama kiparu
ikuyo penikemu
tatiwite
miredomo ayasi
minedakami
tani wo pukami to
otitagitu
kiyoki ka puti ni
asa sarazu
kiri tati watari
yupu sareba
kumowi tanabiki
kumowi nasu
kokoro mo sino ni
tatu kiri no
omopi sugusazu
yuku midu no
woto mo sayakeku
yoroduyo ni
ipitugi yukamu
kapa si taezu wa
The morning sun shines
At my back,and
Divine
Your great name links:
Clouds of white
In a thousand layers, you pierce, and
Tower into the heavens,
Tall Tachiyama!
In winter and, in summer both
Indistinguishably are you
Clad in mulberry white
Fallen drifts of snow;
Since ancient days
Ever has been your estate,
Fastened round with
Crags divine;
‘til all souls end
Have countless ages passed!
Standing here,
I see you, yet am awed by
Your lofty peak and
Valley’s deep, where
Plunge seething cataracts of
Waters pure to pools where
Morning never leaves –
Mists rise and roll across, and
When the evening comes
Clouds trail in and
Cover all,
Even, with sadness, my heart, so
The rising mists
Never leave my thoughts, and of
Your running waters’
Clear, pure sound
Through ten thousand ages
Will I ever tell
Unending as a river’s flow…

Ōtomo no Ikenushi
大伴池主

Love VII: 18

Left (Tie).
吉野河はやき流れを堰く岩のつれなき中に身を砕くらん

yoshinogawa
hayaki nagare o
seku iwa no
tsurenaki naka ni
mi o kudakuran
The River Yoshino’s
Swift flow is
Dammed by boulders;
With the chilling of our bond
It seems my very self will shatter…

A Servant Girl
995

Right.
ありとても逢はぬためしの名取川朽ちだにはてよ瀬せの埋れ木

ari tote mo
awanu tameshi no
natorigawa
kuchi dani hateyo
sese no mumoregi
We live, yet
Cannot meet – our situation
A source of rumours; in the River Natori
Let all rot away with
The drowned trees in the rapids!

Jakuren.
996

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

In judgement: both poems are extremely good. This is a tie of quality.

Love VII: 17

Left.
人心さのみはいかゞ水無瀬川我には淺き契なるらむ

hito kokoro
sa nomi wa ikaga
minasegawa
ware ni wa asaki
chigiri naruramu
Her heart
Is just like it; why as
The Minase River
So shallow for me
Should her feelings be?

Lord Suetsune
993

Right (Win).
いかにして影をも見まし澤田河袖つくほどの契りなりとも

ika ni shite
kage o mo mimashi
sawadagawa
sode tsuku hodo no
chigiri naritomo
No matter what
I would see her face in
The River Sawada,
Even if my sleeves get drenched
By my feelings…

Ietaka.
994

Both Left and Right together state: there are no faults to indicate.

In judgement: using ‘the Minase River’ (minasegawa) preceded by ‘is just like it; why as’ (sa nomi wa ika ni) sounds charming in style, but ‘should her feelings be?’ (chigiri naruramu) means the end of the poem is a bit dry! ‘The River Sawada, even if my sleeves get drenched’ (sawadagawa sode tsuku hodo no) sounds pleasant. Thus, the Right wins.

Love VII: 16

Left.
つれなしと人をぞさらに思ひ河逢ふ瀬を知らぬ身を恨ても

tsurenashi to
hito o zo sara ni
omoigawa
ause o shiranu
mi o uramitemo
How cruel
She is, I ever feel,
My thoughts a river;
No rushed meetings between us –
I hate myself for that, and yet…

Lord Kanemune
991

Right (Win).
遥なる程とぞ聞し衣川かた敷く袖の名こそ有けれ

harukanaru
hodo to zo kikishi
koromogawa
katashiku sode no
na koso arikere
Far, far away
Lies, I have heard,
The River Robe:
For my single spread sleeve
How apt that name is!

Lord Takanobu
992

The Right state: we find the Left’s poem unconvincing. The Left state: the Right’s poem lacks any faults.

In judgement: in the Left’s poem, ‘my thoughts a river’ (omoigawa) is certainly not unconvincing. The latter section of the Right’s poem sounds fine. It should win.

Love VII: 15

Left.
最上河人の心の稲船もしばしばかりと聞かば頼まん

mogamigawa
hito no kokoro no
inabune mo
shibashi bakari to
kikaba tanoman
Upon Mogami River,
Her heart is as
A rice-boat;
That but for a little while
She will hear me, is all my longing.

Lord Ari’ie
989

Right (Win).
飛鳥川淵瀬ひまなき世の中に人のつらさぞ變らざりける

asukagawa
fuchi se himanaki
yo no naka ni
hito no tsurasa zo
kawarazarikeru
On Asuka River
The deeps and shallows have no rest;
In this world of ours,
Her cruelty
Is unchanging.

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office
990

The Right state: we have no criticisms to make of the Left’s poem. The Left state: we wonder about the Right’s use of ‘the deeps and shallows have no rest’ (fuchi se himanaki).

In judgement: ‘Mogami River’ appears to be technically accomplished, but the final section sounds excessive. The deeps and shallows of Asuka River, indeed, do change constantly. The final section, too, seems fine. Thus, the Right wins.