Tag Archives: koi

Love X: 20

Left (Win)
うら山し賤も妻木を立てつめりいつ休むべき恋にかあるらん

urayamashi
shizu mo tsumagi o
tatetsumeri
itsu yasumubeki
koi ni ka aruran
How I envy
The mountain man who kindling
Has gathered all together!
When, though, will I find respite
From love?

Lord Suetsune
1179

Right
思ひ出るかひもなければ山人はあはぬつま木にこりやしぬらん

omoi’izuru
kai mo nakereba
yamabito wa
awanu tsumagi ni
kori ya shinuran
Remembering
Deeply serves no point, but
A mountain man
I am not – unable to meet her – kindling
Should I be cutting?

Lord Tsune’ie
1180

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

In judgement: although I wonder the extent to which the Left’s ‘how I envy’ (urayamashi) a mountain man resting is accurate, I also wonder whether this sort of back and forth upon the path is something which commonly appears, so the poem does not seem uninteresting. The Right’s ‘remembering deeply serves no point’ (omoi’izuru kai mo nakereba) does not sound particularly out of the ordinary. The Left wins somehow.

Love X: 14

Left (Win)
我恋はあまのさかてを打ち返し思ときてや世をも恨みん

wa ga koi wa
ama no sakate o
uchikaeshi
omoi tokite ya
yo o mo uramin
My love:
With my diver girl’s hands raised to heaven
I cast back
Knowing of these pains of love
The world is all despair!

Lord Kanemune
1167

Right
衣手はしほたるれどもみるめをばかづかぬ海人となりにけるかな

koromode wa
shiotaruredomo
mirume o ba
kazukanu ama to
narinikeru kana
Though my sleeves
Are drenched, as
Unable to catch a glimpse of seaweed
Like a hapless diver-girl
Have I become.

Lord Tsune’ie
1168

The Right state: there are various possible interpretations for ama no sakate. In addition, is it appropriate to compose a poem from the diver-girl’s perspective? The Left state: there is nothing to mention in the Right’s poem.

In judgement: the Left’s ama no sakate is not a particularly good expression, but I see no fault in composing from the diver-girl’s perspective. In recent times, people have come up with alternate interpretations for the phrase, but I see no reason for them. This old fool long ago composed a poem in this way. So I wonder, should I criticise my own composition? There is evidence for this in the Tales of Ise, and other texts, too. However, in poetry competitions, ama no sakate fails to sound appropriate. The Right’s diver-girl with sleeves drenched by the tide and unable to harvest seaweed seems incapable. She cannot be a genuine diver-girl. The Left’s sakate is not that elegant, but the girl is genuine. It wins.

Love X: 9

Left
うかれめの浮かれて歩く旅やかた住みつきがたき恋もする哉

ukareme no
ukarete ariku
tabiyakata
sumitsukigataki
koi mo suru kana
Player girls do
Drift around
The inn-houses;
As unsettled
Is the love they make…

Lord Suetsune
1157

Right (Win)
東路やゆききの人にうちとけて宿かりそめの契すらしも

azumaji ya
yukiki no hito ni
uchitokete
yado karisome no
chigiri sura shimo
Along the Eastern Roads
Folk go back and forth, and
To relieve them, the girls
Find brief lodging and even make brief
Vows of love…

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office
1158

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no matters we can criticize. The Left state: the conception of Love in the Right’s poem is vague.

In judgement: The Left’s poem seem certainly to capture the conceptions of both Love and player-girls. ‘Even’ (sura shimo) in the Right’s final section, sounds rather abrupt and portentous, but the initial section is certainly elegant. Thus, the Right should win.

Love IX: 30

Left (Win)
忘れずは馴し袖もやこほこほるらむ寝ぬ夜の床の霜のさむしろ

wasurezu wa
nareshi sode mo ya
kōruramu
nenu yo no toko no
shimo no samushiro
If she should forget me not,
Would those oh so familiar sleeves, too,
Freeze solid?
In bed on a sleepless night
Frost forms on my chilly blankets…

Lord Sada’ie
1139

Right
分てこそ中より塵は積もりぬれ恋の病に沈むさ筵

wakete koso
naka yori chiri wa
tsumorinure
koi no yamai ni
shizumu samushiro
Split down
The middle, dust
Has piled up!
Sunk in the sickness
Of love upon this blanket!

Lord Takanobu
1140

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

In judgement: the conception of being lost in thought of another’s sleeves ‘in bed on a sleepless night frost forms on my chilly blankets’ (nenu yo no toko no shimo no samushiro) is certainly elegant. The scene in the Right’s poem, with the blanket divided in half, with one covered with dust, and the other where the speaker lies lovesick, is distasteful and I do not find it appealing, so thus, the Left wins.

Love IX: 22

Left (Tie)
恋そめし思ひの妻の色ぞそれ見にしむ春の花の衣手

koisomeshi
omoi no tsuma no
iro zo sore
mi ni shimu haru no
hana no koromode
The first flush of love’s
Scarlet passion for her:
A hue that
Stains the flesh, as spring’s
Blossoms do the sleeves…

Lord Sada’ie
1123

Right
飽かざりしそのうつり香は唐衣恋をすすむる妻にぞ有りける

akazarishi
sono utsurika wa
karakoromo
koi o susumuru
tsuma ni zo arikeru
I cannot get enough of
Her scent transferred to
My Cathay robe:
Love for her begins
With a skirt!

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office
1124

The Right state: both the conception and diction of the Left’s poem are unclear. The Left state: the Right’s poem, in addition to being commonplace, has ‘begins’ (susumuru) which is unimpressive.

In judgement: in the Left’s poem, while ‘blossoms do the sleeves’ (hana no koromode) is evocative, ‘a hue that’ (iro zo sore) is certainly extremely difficult to understand. In the Right’s poem, both ‘Cathay robe’ (karakoromo) and ‘with a skirt’ (tsuma ni zo arikeru) seem elegant, but I wonder about the impression of ‘her scent transferred’ (sono utsurika) and ‘begins’. It is unclear which poem is superior or inferior, so the round should tie.

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.

Love IX: 6

Left (Win)
笛竹の聲のかぎりをつくしても猶憂きふしやよゝに殘らん

fuetake no
koe no kagiri o
tsukushitemo
nao ukifushi ya
yoyo ni nokoruran
My bamboo flute’s
Voice beyond its limits
Might I push, and yet
Still, would this sorrow
Remain – even to the world to come?

A Servant Girl
1091

Right
わが戀はまだ吹き馴れぬ横笛の音に立つれども逢かたもなし

wa ga koi wa
mada fukinarenu
yokobue no
ne ni tatsuredomo
au kata mo nashi
My love: like
An unpractised
Set of pipes
Gives out discordant sounds, yet
No chance is there to meet…

Lord Takanobu
1092

Left and Right together state: no faults.

In judgement: the Right’s pipes would seem to sound very youthful, indeed! As for the Left, although I feel I have heard such a conception before, because for the life of me I cannot recall where, the style seems tasteful. The Left wins.

Love VIII: 25

Left
起きもゐで年ふる戀はをのづから常世の神やしるし見すべき

oki mo ide
toshi furu koi wa
onozukara
tokoyo no kami ya
shirushi misubeki
Unable to arise
From love these many years,
May I
By the eternal gods
Be shown a sign!

Kenshō
1069

Right (Win)
獨臥すながながし夜のかなしきを語らひあかすきりぎりす哉

hitori fusu
naganagashi yo no
kanashiki o
katarai akasu
kirigirisu kana
Lying alone,
So long, long the night’s
Sorrow;
Lightening it with chatter
Are the crickets!

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office
1070

The Gentlemen of the Right state: what is the meaning of ‘the eternal gods’ (toko no kami). In appeal, the Left: in the Chronicles of Japan, insects are worshipped under the name of ‘the eternal gods’ and made to seem like men. The Left state: what can an insect chatter about?

In judgement: in regard to the Left’s poem, while it is true that insects were worshipped, a poem on ‘Love and Insects’ with no insect is lacking something from the start. This poem would seem to be more a case of ‘Love and Prayers’. Thus, this is nothing enduring. A prior example has been contrived, but this is ineffective. It does not seem as if this insect’s nature has any relation to the topic. The Right’s poem has a commonplace cricket. Where is the fault in having it lighten one’s mood with chatter? Thus, the Right must win.

Love VIII: 18

Left (Win)
鴨のゐる入江の浪を心にて胸と袖とにさはぐ戀かな

kamo no iru
irie no nami o
kokoro nite
mune to sode to ni
sawagu koi kana
Ducks flock on
The inlet’s waves
Within my heart, so
My breast and sleeves both
Are raucous with love!

Lord Sada’ie
1055

Right
佐保川の霧のまよひの程だにも妻もとむとて千鳥鳴夜を

saogawa no
kiri no mayoi no
hodo dani mo
tsuma motomu tote
chidori naku yo o
To the vernal river:
The mist brings confusion
And in its midst,
Seeking a mate,
A plover cries at night…

Jakuren
1056

The Gentlemen of the Right state: we wonder about the appropriateness of ‘my breast and sleeves both are raucous’ (mune to sode to ni sawagu)? The Left, in appeal, state: there is ‘the river-mouths of my sleeves’ (sode no minato) and ‘when I think, upon my breast’ (omoeba mune ni) so linking ‘breast’ and ‘sleeve’ is entirely uncontroversial. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we find no faults to mention in the Right’s poem.

In judgement: I understand the views of the Left’s poem held by both teams. It has also been said that the Right’s poem lacks faults. However, in ‘seeking a mate, a plover cries at night’ (tsuma motomu tote chidori naku yo o) only the two words ‘at night’ (yo o) have any conception of love. The remainder of the poem is simply about plovers, so there is little of love about it. ‘Breast and sleeves both’ (mune to sode to) should win.