Tag Archives: kumo

Love VI: 10

Left (Win).

toki no ma ni
kiete tanabiku
shirakumo no
shibashi mo hito ni
aimiteshi kana
In just a moment
They vanish, wisping:
The white clouds’
Brief span
O, that I could meet her for so long!

Lord Sada’ie.


kokoro mo sora ni
hikazu hete
kumo ni yado karu
mono’omoi kana
Wandering from my breast
My heart within the skies
Has passed the days
Taking lodging in clouds
The focus of my thoughts…

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress Household Office.

The Right state: we find no faults to mention in the Left’s poem. The Left state: the Right’s poem simply re-states a famous creation by another of the Gentlemen of the Right.

In judgement: ‘taking lodging in clouds’ (kumo ni yado karu) does, indeed, sound most like something I have heard recently. Perhaps it is simply that, having heard a good phrase, the gentleman has reused it. Whatever the facts of the matter, it lacks novelty. The Left’s ‘brief span’ (shibashi mo hito ni) should win.

Love VI: 9


koi wabite
kokoro sora naru
ukigumo ya
yukue mo shirazu
hate ha narubeki
Suffering with love
My heart is as the sky-bound
Drifting clouds:
In some unknown place
Is where it will end…

Lord Kanemune.

Right (Win).

koi shinuru
yowa no kemuri no
kumo to naraba
kimi ga yado ni ya
wakite shiguren
Should I die of love, and
Final smoke
Clouds become,
To your dwelling will I
Drift and descend?


The Right state: does the Left’s poem really expresses the love of drifting clouds? The Left state: the Right’s poem is more suited to the topic of ‘Love and Smoke’.

In judgement: with regard to the Left’s poem, Lady Sagami’s poem from the Eishō Imperial Palace Poetry Competition: ‘Before I know it/In my heart, sky-bound/is my love’ (itsu to naku/kokoro sora naru/wa ga koi ya) would be a good prior example, but this poem inserts ‘drifting clouds’ (ukigumo ya), which is illogical. As for the Right’s poem, ‘To your dwelling will I drift and descend?’ (kimi ga yado ni ya wakite shiguren) sounds fine. Thus, and for this reason, the Right wins.


GSIS X: 541

A poem composed after the cremation of Cloistered Retired Emperor En’yū at Murasakino, when recalling how His Majesty had travelled there for the Day of the Rat the year before.


murasaki no
kumo no kaketemo
omoFiki ya
Faru no kasumi ni
nasite mimu to Fa
At Murasakino
Clouds covering all
Did I recall?
The haze of spring
Have they become when I see them now…

Major Captain of the Left [Fujiwara no] Asamitsu

SKS IX: 303

Composed when he held a poetry competition at his house.


Fudi no takane ni
kumo kiete
kiyomi ga seki ni
sumeru tuki kana
All through this night
From the mighty peak of Fuji
Have the clouds cleared, and
Above the barrier of Kiyomi
Brightly shines the moon.

Akisuke, Master of the Left Capital Office

Love IV: 22


hitotsu hanarete
tobu tori mo
ne ni yuku kata wa
arikeri to miyu
As the evening comes
As a single, distant,
Flying bird
Going to roost do
I seem to be…



ima wa ware
mataji to omou
kokoro sae
mata kakimidasu
kumo no furumai
Now, I
Will wait no more, I think, and
My very heart
Is thrown into confusion by
The spider spinning…


Both Left and Right state: we find no faults to remark upon.

In judgement: the Left’s ‘flying bird going’ (tobu tori no yuku kata) and the Right’s ‘spider spinning’ (kumo no furumai) are both certainly not uncharming. I make this round a tie.

Love IV: 18

Left (Win).

kumo to nari
ame to naru chō
nakazora no
yume ni mo mieyo
yowa narazu tomo
Whether you become clouds, or
Whether you become rain
In the heart of the heavens
Let me glimpse you in a dream,
Though nighttime it is not…

Lord Ari’ie.


kurenu ma wa
kakariseba ya
yamadori mo
yowa ni omoi ni
The hours with no darkness:
Is it because they are so?
As the pheasants do
At night to thoughts of love
Can we vow to turn?


The Right state: we find no particular faults to mention. The Left state: the mention of ‘pheasants’ (yamadori) comes a bit abruptly, does it not?

In judgement: the style of the Left’s poem sounds utterly elegant and beautiful. The Right’s mention of ‘pheasants’ is unnecessary. Thus, the Left wins.

GSS III: 117

After a man who was of a mind to become a monk had travelled to Yamato province and been there for some time, when a lady whom he had known before sent to him, enquiring how the cherry blossoms had been blooming lately.


miyosino no
yosino no yama no
sirakumo to nomi
In fair Yoshino
On Yoshino mountain,
The cherry blossom
Simply for clouds of white
I do always mistake!