Tag Archives: koromode

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 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 VII: 19

Left.
逢ふ事は苗代水を引き止めて通しはてぬや小山田の關

au koto wa
nawashiro mizu o
hikitomete
tōshihatenu ya
oyamada no seki
Can a meeting, like
The waters round the rice seedlings
Be stopped
In their endless flow
Past the Oyamada Barrier?

Kenshō
997

Right (Win).
衣手は清見が關にあらねども絶ゆるよもなき涙也けり

koromode wa
kiyomi ga seki ni
aranedomo
tayuru yo mo naki
namida narikeri
My sleeves as
The Barrier at Kiyomi
Are not, yet
Without cease
Are my tears…

Lord Tsune’ie.
998

The Right state: we are unfamiliar with the expression ‘Oyamada Barrier’ (oyamada no seki). The Left state: it sounds as if it is tears that are ceaseless at the Barrier at Kiyomi.

In judgement: the Left’s poem is stylistically tasteful, but with only ‘can a meeting, like the waters round the rice seedlings’ (au koto wa nawashiro mizu) the conception of love is weak is it not? The Right’s poem metaphorically has tears ceaseless at the Barrier at Kiyomi, and with the ta present, I accept the Left’s point to a certain extent, but this type of thing is not unusual in metaphorical poems.  In addition, there is little reason to imagine the waters round the rice-seedlings being blocked. As it has a stronger focus on Love, the Right wins.

Love I: 19

Left.

なかなかにみるめばかりは難くとも遂にあふみの海と頼めよ

nakanaka ni
mirume bakari wa
katakutomo
tsui ni aumi no
umi to tanomeyo
‘Tis not enough to
Merely catch a glimpse of you;
‘Tis hard, but
Finally for a meeting
By the sea must be my hope.

Lord Ari’ie.

637

Right (Win).

漁り火のほの見てしより衣手に磯邊の浪の寄せぬ日ぞなき

isaribi no
honomiteshi yori
koromode ni
isobe no nami no
yosenu hi zo naki
Since by fisher fires
Dim light I glimpsed you,
Upon my sleeves
Waves upon a rocky shore
Have broken, every day.

Lord Tsune’ie.

638

Both teams say the other team’s poem sounds ‘extremely cliched’ [furikusaritari].

Shunzei’s judgement: ‘The gentlemen of both sides have stated that the opposing poem sounds clichéd. This is, indeed, a most perceptive judgement! Poems which use non-standard poetic diction [utakotoba ni mo aranu utadomo] often sound clichéd, do they not? However, given that the Left concludes ‘for a meeting by the sea must be my hope’ (aumi no umi to tanomeyo), it was unnecessary to mention mirume being difficult to obtain. Simply saying that it would be ‘absent’ [nashi] is what would be clichéd, surely? In any case, isaribi seems slightly superior.

Winter II: 6

Left (Tie).

雲深き嶺の朝明けのいかならん槇の戸白む雪の光に

kumo fukaki
mine no asake no
ika naran
maki no to shiramu
yuki no hikari ni
Deep within the clouds,
Morning to the peaks must come,
But how? I wonder,
With whitening round my cedar door,
Brightened by the snow…

A Servant Girl.

551

Right.

眺めやる衣手寒し有明の月より殘る峰の白雪

nagameyaru
koromode samushi
ariake no
tsuki yori nokoru
mine no shirayuki
Gazing on,
How chill my sleeves;
The dawntime
Moon will linger less than
The snowfall on the peaks…

Jakuren.

552

Both teams say they find the other’s poem moving.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s poem has ‘deep snow’ (yuki fukaki), ‘whitening round my cedar door’ (maki no to shiramu), and the Right has ‘the dawntime moon will linger less than’ (ariake no tsuki yori nokoru) – the conception and diction of both are splendid [kokoro kotoba tomo ni yoroshiku koso haberumere]. It seems to me that is exactly how winter mornings are. Thus, it is difficult to say which is better. This must be a good tie [yoki ji].