Tag Archives: kumoi

Love VII: 10

Left (Tie).

kumoi made
tsuzukite miyu
wata tsu umi no
yukue shirarenu
mono’omoi kana
Beyond the clouds
My gaze goes on and on;
The endless sea:
What lies beyond is unknown
As my gloomy thoughts…

Lord Suetsune.


ise no umi no
shiose ni sawagu
sazare’ishi no
kudakete mono o
omou koro kana
The sea at Ise:
Raging rapids with the tides,
Where pebbles
Shatter, gloom
Filling my thoughts these days…


The Right state: the Left’s poem is clichéd. The Left state: the Right’s poem is that of Shigeyuki.

In judgement: the Left’s poem is clichéd, but in addition to this uses ‘goes on and on’ (tsuzukite), which is not something one should say. The Right’s poem is, indeed, overly close to Shigeyuki’s, so both Left and Right poem are deficient and lacking in any element allowing a win.

Love V: 17

Left (Win).

kanashiki wa
sakai kotonaru
naka to shite
naki tama made mo
yoso ni ukaren
How sad it is:
Beyond the borders of this life
Should our bond endure
Even your departed soul
So distant, would I trail after…

Lord Sada’ie


wasurezu yo
iku kumoi to wa
sora yuku tsuki no
chigiri bakari wa
I will not forget!
How far beyond the clouds you are
I know not, yet
As the moon across the skies,
Is my simple vow to you…


Left and Right: no faults to mention.

In judgement: although the Left’s poem sounds a little over-familiar, it certainly does have conception. The Right’s poem does sound smooth, but the origin poem has ‘Forget me not’ (wasuru na yo) – and this has ‘I will not forget’ (wasurezu yo) – the origin poem has ‘for distant as the clouds’ (hodo wa kumoi ni) – and this has ‘how far beyond the clouds’ (iku kumoi to wa); and ‘as the moon across the skies’ (sora yuku tsuki no) is identical, so the only part which as been changed is ‘I shall return – ‘til then’ (meguri au made). It is only to be expected that it would sound good, given that it presents much of the same material in the same order. The Left should win.

Summer II: 26



kumoi made
hibiki ya suran
natsuyama no
mine yori takaki
semi no morogoe
To the very clouds
Do they resound?
In summer, the mountain
Peaks they do surpass:
The cicadas’ jostling songs.

Lord Ari’ie.


Right (Win).


hima koso nakere
ochikochi ni
yagate machitoru
semi no koegoe
Respite from song,
However brief, there’s none!
Both near and far
Wait but a moment and a
Cicada calls.

Lord Takanobu.


The Right say, ‘The conception of the Left’s poem is trite. The comparison of these things (the cicadas’ songs and the mountains’ height) goes against the spirit of the topic.’ The Left have nothing, and no reason, to say anything.

Shunzei agrees: ‘Better than the over-wrought language of the Left’s poem, the Right’s “Both near and far wait but a moment” (ochikochi ni yagate machitoru) suits the topic well. The Right must win.’

Summer I: 17

Left (Win).


kumoi yori
tatsuru tsukai ni
ikutose kaketsu
kamo no kawanami
From the palace ‘bove the clouds
The messengers descend in
How many years have
They met the ripples on Kamo River?

A Servant Girl.




toshigoto no
kyō no miare ni
kakaru kazashi wa
araji to zo omou
Every year
For the festival, today,
Apart, decorations
Are there none!

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right remark that, ‘the waves appear somewhat abruptly’ in the Left’s poem, while the Left simply say, ‘from an unusual beginning, the Right’s poem says simply “decorations are there none”, which is obvious.’

Shunzei contents himself with, ‘The Left wins by a small margin.’

Spring II: 14

Left (Win).


fuyugare no
shibafu ga shita ni
haru wa kumoi ni
agaru hibari ka
The greensward, and beneath it
Dwelling, yet
With springtime to the skies
Ascending, ‘tis the skylark.

Lord Kanemune.




hibari agaru
haru no yakeno no
sue tōmi
miyako no kata wa
kasumi narikeri
Skylarks soar above
The springtime stubble burned fields;
To the distance far
Towards the capital, all
With haze is covered.

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right state that the Left’s poem ‘would probably be better’ without the final ka (the use of this particle, marking rhetorical tone, was considered old-fashioned by the time the poem was written, and this old-fashioned air is what the Right are criticising). The Left reply that the final two stanzas of the Right’s poem ‘are not effective’, probably suggesting that the poem implies the capital is on fire, rather than simply being concealed by smoke from stubble-burning.

Shunzei merely remarks that the Left’s criticisms are ‘apposite, in general’ and awards them the victory.