Tag Archives: Lengthening Days

Spring III: 6

Left (Tie).


ono no e o
kakute ya hito wa
yamaji oboyuru
haru no sora kana
‘His axe haft:
Is this how he
Let it rot away?’
I wonder on the mountain paths
Under the springtime skies.

Lord Kanemune.


Right (Tie).


haru no hi wa
nada no shioya no
amabito mo
itoma arite ya
In the springtime sun
At Nada, the salt-making
Fisher-folk, too,
Have time to spare, and
Live with it heavy on their hands…



Both teams say they can find nothing to criticise in the other’s poem.

Shunzei agrees, saying, ‘You gentlemen have already stated that there is no reason to fault either poem. The round must be a tie.’

Spring III: 5

Left (Win).


aki naraba
tsuki matsu koto no
sakura ni kurasu
haru no yamazato
Were it autumn,
Waiting for the moon is
Bitter, indeed, but
Amongst the cherry blossom do I live,
In my mountain hut in springtime.

A Servant Girl.




shirakumo no
yae tatsu yama no
hana o mite
kaeru ieji mo
hi wa harukanari
Clouds of white,
Lie eight-fold upon the mountains;
Gazing on the blossoms, being
Homeward bound at
Sundown seems a long, long way away…



The Right team have no particular criticisms of the Left’s poem this round. The Left, though, say ‘What are we to make of ‘Sundown seems a long, long way away’ (hi wa harukanari)?’ (Probably suggesting it’s an insufficiently poetic expression to use in a waka.)

Shunzei doesn’t address the Left’s criticism in his judgement, simply saying, ‘The Left’s final section starting “amongst the cherry blossom do I live” (sakura ni kurasu) sounds charming. It must win.’

Spring III: 4

Left (Win).


nagame wabinu
hikari nodoka ni
kasumu hi ni
hana saku yama wa
nishi o wakanedo
Surfeited with gazing,
In the tranquil light
Of the hazy sun,
At the mountain – blossom-covered –
Yet not on its western side alone…

Lord Sada’ie.




tsurezure to
kurashi zo kanuru
yamazato no
hana sakanu ma no
haru no kokoro wa
In this tedium
I cannot spend my days:
Dwelling on a mountain,
The blossoms not yet blooming
In springtime – or so I feel!

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


Both teams say their feelings are as in the previous round.

Shunzei says, ‘The final stanza ‘At the mountain – blossom-covered – yet not on its western side alone…’ (hana saku yama wa nishi o wakanedo) appears particularly splendid. The Right’s ‘I cannot spend my days: dwelling on a mountain’ (kurashi zo kanuru yamazato no) is also good, but ‘The blossoms not yet blooming’ (hana sakanu ma) would be more appropriate for a poem on the end of the First, or beginning of the Second Month. Wouldn’t it?’

Spring III: 3



yūgure ni
omoeba kesa no
asa kasumi
yo o hedatetaru
kokochi koso sure
In the evening
Pondering on the morn’s
Morning mist:
That a night does stand between,
The feeling strikes me strongly.

Lord Ari’ie.


Right (Win).


tsumoreba oshiki
haru no hi o
nodokeki mono to
nani omouramu
Doing this and that
Time passes, so I should regret
These days of spring,
Spent in peaceful
Thought – and for what!

Lord Takanobu.


Neither team has any comments to make about the other’s poem this round.

Shunzei states, ‘The Left seem to touch on the topic of the round only distantly, while the Right’s ‘Time passes, so I should regret’ (tsumoreba oshiki) appears particularly splendid. It must be the winner.

Spring III: 2

Left (Win).


haru no hi wa
tanomuru naka ni
mono ni zo arikeru
The days of Spring for
Longing love affairs
Are unsuited, yet
In yearning for dusk,
Do they go by…

Lord Suetsune.




haru no hi no
tsurezure ni
ikutabi kyō
hirune shitsuran
The hours in spring are
Hard to endure, as
In idleness,
How many times, today,
Have I dozed in daytime?

Lord Tsune’ie.


Both teams say they don’t think much thought has gone into the other’s poem.

Shunzei takes the opportunity here to show off his erudition, saying, ‘In the Right’s poem, doing such a thing as many times as Zai Yu would be appallingly lazy, would it not? The Left’s “yearning for dusk” (kurashiwazurau), however, is a superb expression. I must make them the winner.”

Spring III: 1

Left (Tie).


uguisu no
momo saezuri o
iku kaeri
nagaki haru hi ni
The warblers’
Multitude of twitters
Goes round, and round again;
The long, late days of spring,
Do they spend in song?



Right (Tie).


kumo no ue ni
tsuru no morogoe
aware nodokeki
haru no kyō kana
By the clound borne palace
The choir of cranes
Gives song;
O, how peaceful is
Today, in springtime!



Neither team can find any particular fault with the other’s poem this round.

Shunzei says, ‘Both poems are on “lengthening days”, and both – the Left’s “warblers’ multitude of twitters” (uguisu no momo saezuri) and the Right’s “choir of cranes” (tsuru no morogoe) – have a tranquil air and sound excellent. Again, I must make them a tie.’