Tag Archives: koma

Kanpyō no ōntoki kisai no miya uta’awase 11



koma nabete
me mo haru no no ni
wakana tsumitsuru
hito wa ari ya to
Mounts all over
The springtime meadows before my eyes
Are mixed;
A’plucking of fresh herbs,
Are there folk there, I wonder?




uguisu no
tani yori izuru
koe naku wa
haru kuru koto o
tare ka tsugemashi
If the bush-warbler
From the valleys
Did not sing his song,
That spring is coming
Would anyone announce it at all?


[1] Shisen manyōshū 13; Kokin rokujō II: 1137, ‘Springtime meadows’

[2] A minor variant of this poem occurs in Kokinshū (I: 14), attributed to Ōe no Chisato: 鶯の谷よりいづる声なくは春来ることを誰かしらまし uguisu no / tani yori izuru / koe naku wa / haru kuru koto o / tare ka shiramashi ‘If the bush-warbler / From the valleys / Did not sing his song, / That spring is coming / Would anyone realise at all?’; also Shinsen man’yōshū 261.

Love VIII: 22

Left (Win)

karakuni no
tora fusu nobe ni
iru yori mo
madou koiji no
sue zo ayauki
In far Cathay are
Meadows where tigers lie,
But rather than entering there,
The confusing paths of love
Are, at the end, more dangerous…

Lord Ari’ie


wa ga yado wa
hito mo kareno no
kayoishi koma no
ato mo todomezu
At my home
Is only a withered field
Of cogon grass;
The mount who once did cross it
Has left no lingering tracks…


The Gentlemen of the Right state: how can love be dangerous? The Gentlemen of the Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.

In judgement: saying that the ‘paths of love are, at the end’ (koiji no sue) dangerous is perfectly commonplace. ‘Is only a withered field of cogon grass’ (hito mo kareno no asajiwara) seems to simply have taken the poem ‘Sedge fields lie / Around the estate of Fushimi, / All long overgrown; / He who passed across them / Has left no tracks at all…’ and swapped in ‘mount who once did cross it’ (kayoishi koma). Changing a man into a mount is discomposing, indeed. Again, the Left should win.

Love VIII: 20

Left (Tie)

ika ni shite
tsurenaki naka o
ashi no oto mo senu
koma no aritomo
How, indeed,
To one so heartless
Can I make my way across?
Even a silent-footed
Steed had I to ride…

Lord Suetsune

Right (Win)

michi tōmi
imogari isogu
sono koma ni
kusa torikawan
nazumi mo zo suru
Long is the road
To go swiftly seek my darling, so
For my steed
I’ll go gather grasses
That he not tire along the way…

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office

The Gentlemen of the Right state: we wonder about the appropriateness of making one’s way across when there is no ‘bridge’? The Gentlemen of the Left state: there are no faults to indicate in the Right’s poem.

In judgement: the gentleman of the Left has composed his poem referring to the conception of the Man’yō poem ‘A silent-footed / Colt I’d have: / In Kashitsuka, / The clapper bridge at Mama / To ceaselessly traverse!’, but must have misplaced the bridge somewhere. Truly, I do wonder how it is possible to make one’s way across in the absence of a bridge. Although to say ‘for my steed I’ll go gather grasses’ (sono koma ni kusa torikawan) is something commonplace, doing it to prevent one’s mount getting tired, despite the length of the journey, seems better than lacking a bridge.

Sanboku kikashū VIII: 1223

Love and Horse Hair.


Fima mo araba
woguro ni tateru
awosagi no
komagoma to koso
Were there but space,
As perching on the paddy-ridges
Are the grey herons close
As the mounts ahead, in such detail
Would I tell you of my love.

Minamoto no Toshiyori