Tag Archives: Lingering Cold

Spring I: 12

Left (Win).

空はなを霞もやらず風冴えて雪氣にくもる春の夜の月

sora wa nao
kasumi mo yarazu
kaze saete
yukige ni kumoru
haru no yo no tsuki
The skies are still
Untouched by haze;
The wind clearly brings
A sense of snow to cloud
The moon, this springtime night.

A Servant Girl

23

Right.

梅が枝の匂ばかりや春ならんなを雪深し窓のあけぼの

ume ga e no
nioi bakari ya
haru naran
nao yuki fukashi
mado no akebono
Is a branch of plum’s
Scent alone
Spring?
Still the snows lie deep
Outside my window this dawn.

Jakuren

24

Neither team has any criticisms to make of the other’s poem in this round.

Shunzei comments that both poems are simply and beautifully constructed in both form and phrasing, and the final two lines of both poems are equally charming. He feels, though, that the beginning of the Right’s poem would have been improved if, instead of ‘a branch of plum’ (ume ga e), which focuses the audience’s attention on the branch, and not the blossom, it had begun ‘Is the plum beneath my eaves’ (noki no ume), instead. In addition, while reluctant to discount ‘outside my window this dawn’ (mado no akebono), he cannot help but feel that ‘the moon, this springtime night’ (haru no yo no tsuki) is a more superlative conclusion, and so has to award victory to the Left.

Spring I: 11

Left (Tie).

天の原春とも見えぬながめかなこぞのなごりの雪の明ぼの

ama no hara
haru tomo mienu
nagame kana
kozo no nagori no
yuki no akebono
Upon the plain of Heaven
Of Spring there is no sign
In sight:
A memento of the year that’s gone,
Snowfall with the dawning.

Lord Ari’ie

21

Right (Tie).

なごりには春の袂も冴えにけり霞より散る雪のけしきに

nagori ni wa
haru no tamoto mo
saenikeri
kasumi yori chiru
yuki no keshiki ni
The memento
Also upon my springtime sleeves
Stands clear:
Drifting from the haze,
A scene of snow.

Nobusada

22

In this round the Right team have no criticisms to make of the Left’s poem, but the Left query beginning a poem with ‘memento’, as the audience then immediately wonder, ‘A memento of what?’

Shunzei comments that the Left’s poem starts extremely well, but that, even though ‘in sight’ (nagame kana) has been frequently used in poetry recently, its spirit has yet to be fully determined, and so including it here must be considered a mistake. Furthermore, the concluding line, ‘snowfall with the dawning’ (yuki no akebono), has also been much used in recent poetry. As for the Right’s poem, he feels it ends extremely well, but echoes the criticism of the Left about the beginning. Thus, the best result for this round is a tie.

Spring I: 10

Left (Win).

霞みあへず猶降る雪に空とぢて春物ふかき埋み火のもと

kasumi aezu
nao furu yuki ni
sora tojite
haru monofukaki
uzumibi no moto
No trace of haze and
Still the falling snow
Seals the sky;
Spring lies deep
Amongst the buried embers.

Lord Sada’ie

19

Right.

霞しくけさゝへ冴ゆる袂かな雪ふる年や身につもるらん

kasumi shiku
kesa sae sayuru
tamoto kana
yuki furu toshi ya
mi ni tsumoruran
Haze spreads:
Today, ‘tis clear
Upon my sleeve:
Is it with snow fall this year
That I am buried?

Lord Takanobu

20

The Right team state that the final line of the Left’s poem is ‘grating on the ear’, but that otherwise they can find nothing wrong with it. Shunzei remarks somewhat testily, that they are pre-empting his role as judge, but broadly agrees, finding the central image of snow ‘sealing the sky’ particularly fine. He finds the Right’s poem problematic in that ‘haze spreads’ in the middle of spring, and this poem is supposed to be describing the season’s beginning – it should be ‘haze rises’ (kasumi tatsu), and there is nothing remarkable about the rest of it. Thus, he awards the round to the Left.

Spring I: 9

Left (Win).

信樂の外山は雪も消えにしを冬を殘すや谷の夕風

shigaraki no
toyama wa yuki mo
kienishi o
fuyu o nokosu ya
tani no yūkaze
From Shigaraki’s
Mountains, the snow
Has gone, yet
Does winter remain in
The valleys’ evening breeze?

Kenshō

17

Right.

春風は吹くと聞けども柴の屋はなをさむしろにいこそ寢られね

haru kaze wa
fuku to kikedomo
shiba no ya wa
nao samushiro ni
i koso nerarene
The spring breeze
Blows, I hear, yet
My twig-roofed hut is
Yet chill: beneath a threadbare blanket
I cannot fall asleep.

Lord Tsune’ie

18

Shunzei states the first part of the Left’s poem is ‘elevated in tone’, but that the final line is problematic: a reference to ‘morning’ might have been better, or just to the ‘valleys’ breeze’, but this would not have fitted the syllable count. If the intention had been to add a sense of ‘darkness’ to the poem, an expression such as ‘the valleys, shadowed by the crags’ would have been better. As for the Right’s poem, the image of the ‘twig-roofed hut’ is lonely, but the overlaying of the ‘cold’ with ‘blanket’ (in the original poem ‘samushiro’ is a play-on-words with both senses) is pedestrian, and so the Left’s poem, despite its faults, is adjudged the winner.