Tag Archives: Love

Love VIII: 18

Left (Win)
鴨のゐる入江の浪を心にて胸と袖とにさはぐ戀かな

kamo no iru
irie no nami o
kokoro nite
mune to sode to ni
sawagu koi kana
Ducks flock on
The inlet’s waves
Within my heart, so
My breast and sleeves both
Are raucous with love!

Lord Sada’ie
1055

Right
佐保川の霧のまよひの程だにも妻もとむとて千鳥鳴夜を

saogawa no
kiri no mayoi no
hodo dani mo
tsuma motomu tote
chidori naku yo o
To the vernal river:
The mist brings confusion
And in its midst,
Seeking a mate,
A plover cries at night…

Jakuren
1056

The Gentlemen of the Right state: we wonder about the appropriateness of ‘my breast and sleeves both are raucous’ (mune to sode to ni sawagu)? The Left, in appeal, state: there is ‘the river-mouths of my sleeves’ (sode no minato) and ‘when I think, upon my breast’ (omoeba mune ni) so linking ‘breast’ and ‘sleeve’ is entirely uncontroversial. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we find no faults to mention in the Right’s poem.

In judgement: I understand the views of the Left’s poem held by both teams. It has also been said that the Right’s poem lacks faults. However, in ‘seeking a mate, a plover cries at night’ (tsuma motomu tote chidori naku yo o) only the two words ‘at night’ (yo o) have any conception of love. The remainder of the poem is simply about plovers, so there is little of love about it. ‘Breast and sleeves both’ (mune to sode to) should win.

Love VIII: 11

Left
山深み種ある岩に生ふる松の根よりもかたき戀や何なる

yama fukami
tane aru iwa ni
ouru matsu no
ne yori mo kataki
koi ya nani naru
Deep with the mountains,
Upon the crags where seeds
Grow into pines,
Rooted firmly – how hard
Will our love be?

Lord Ari’ie
1041

Right (Win)
契きなまた忘れずよ初瀬河布留川野邊の二本の杉

chigirikina
mata wasurezu yo
hatsusegawa
furukawa nobe no
futamoto no sugi
You vowed it, did you not.
Not to forget me more.
In the River Hatsuse and
River Furu’s meadows
Stand twin cedars.

Jakuren
1042

Left and Right together state: we find no faults to mention.

In judgement: While there are such things in the heart of the mountains as ‘crags where seeds grow into pines’ (tane aru iwa ni ouru matsu), it is normally by the sea or on rocky coastlines that one finds firmly rooted pine trees. Surely, mountain pines are but lightly rooted? Cedars on River Hatsuse recollects ‘Nor will I ever; a solid brick-kiln’ (wasurezu yo kawaraya), but ‘You vowed it, did you not’ (chigirikina) also reminds me of the old phrase ‘Both our sleeves wringing out’ (katami ni sode o shiboritsutsu), which is most fine. Thus, the Right wins.

Love VIII: 10

Left (Win)
うかりける我み山木の契かな連なる枝もありとこそ聞け

ukarikeru
wa ga mi yamagi no
chigiri kana
tsuranaru eda mo
ari to koso kike
In despair
Am I: hidden among the mountain trees
Is my love;
Though once branches lay atop each other
I did hear…

Lord Suetsune
1039

Right
涙には憂き深山木も朽ちぬべし沖つ小嶋のひさきならねど

namida ni wa
uki fukayamagi mo
kuchinubeshi
oki tsu kojima no
hisaki naranedo
Among my tears,
Drift, despairing, trees from the mountain deeps,
Rotting all away, though
On islets in the offing
On bush-covered beaches, they are not…

Lord Tsune’ie
1040

Both Left and Right state: we find no faults.

In judgement: both Left and Right use the image of ‘trees from the mountain deeps’ (fukayamagi), and neither is superior, or inferior, to the other in this, but I would have to say that the Left’s ‘though once branches lay atop each other I did hear…’ (tsuranaru eda mo ari to koso kike) is somewhat better than the Right’s ‘on bush-covered beaches, they are not…’ (hisaki naranedo).

Love VIII: 8

Left
戀死なば苔むす塚に栢古りてもとの契に朽ちやはてなん

koi shinaba
kokemusu tsuka ni
kae furite
moto no chigiri ni
kuchi ya hatenan
Should I have died of love and
Upon my moss-hung tomb
An aged cypress be
Would those vows from long ago
Have rotted quite away?

Lord Sada’ie
1035

Right (Win)
かくばかり思と君も白樫に知らじな色に出でばこそあらめ

kaku bakari
omou to kimi mo
shirakashi ni
shiraji na iro ni
ideba koso arame
That so much
I long for you,
Evergreen,
You know not; for what hues
Might I show?

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress Household Office
1036

The Gentlemen of the Right state: ‘tomb’ (tsuka) and ‘cypress’ (kae) are frightening. The Gentlemen of the Left state: ‘evergreen’ (kashi) is the same, is it not?

In judgement: What might ‘upon my moss-hung tomb an aged cypress be’ (kokemusu tsuka ni kae furite) mean? Maybe the poet had in mind the part of the Scribe’s Records, where Duke Wen of Jin, on parting from his wife in Di, says, ‘If you wait for me for twenty-five years and I have still not returned, then marry again,’ but his wife laughs and says, ‘After ageing for twenty-five years, a cypress will be growing upon my tomb!’ The Right’s ‘evergreen’ (shirakashi) must simply serve to introduce to ‘you know not; for what hues might I show?’ (shiraji na iro ni ideba koso arame). However, both ‘cypress’ (kae) and ‘evergreen’ (kashi) lack admirable qualities. The round should tie.

Love VII: 30

Left (Win)
恋わたる夜はのさむしろ波かけてかくや待けん宇治の橋姫

koi wataru
yowa no samushiro
nami kakete
kaku ya machiken
uji no hashihime
Crossed in love
At night my mat of straw
Is washed by waves;
Is this how she waits,
The maid at Uji bridge.

A Servant Girl
1019

Right
いにしへの宇治の橋守身をつまば年経る恋を哀とも見よ

inishie no
uji no hashimori
mi o tsumaba
toshi furu koi o
aware tomo miyo
Ancient
Warden of Uji bridge,
If you pinch me,
How I have aged with love for you
Will you know, and pity me…

Jakuren
1020

Left and Right together state: we find no faults to mention.

In judgement: the style of both the Left’s ‘maid at Uji bridge’ (uji no hashihime) and the Right’s ‘Warden of Uji bridge’ (uji no hashimori) is pleasant, and the Left’s ‘Is this how she waits, the maid at Uji bridge’ (kaku ya machiken uji no hashihime) draws on the conception of a tale from long ago, and the configuration also seems deeply moving. Thus, the Left should win.

MYS XV: 3578

[One of] a number of poems composed on the occasion of an embassy to Silla, exchanged in sadness at parting, or noting emotions on voyage, or ancient poems which matched the location.

武庫の浦の入江の洲鳥羽ぐくもる君を離れて恋に死ぬべし

muko no ura no
irie no sudori
pa kugumoru
kimi wo panarete
kopi ni sinubesi
At the Bay of Muko
Along the inlets seabirds
Wrapped in wings –
Parted from your embrace, my Lord,
I shall die of love.

 

Love VII: 28

Left.
われが身や長柄の橋の橋柱恋に朽ちなん名をば残して

ware ga mi ya
nagara no hashi no
hashibashira
koi ni kuchinan
na o ba nokoshite
Is my body as
The broken bridge at Nagara’s
Bridge pillars?
Eaten away by love
Is all they’ll say when I am gone…

Lord Kanemune
1015

Right (Win).
崩れゆく板田の橋もさもあらばあれ我を恋ふべき妹ならばこそ

kuzureyuku
itada no hashi mo
sa mo araba
are ware o koubeki
imo naraba koso
Collapsing is
The bridge at Itada:
Should that be, then
Love for me from
My darling will do the same!

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress Household Office
1016

The Right state: clichéd from beginning to end. The Left state: the style of the Right’s poem is unattractive.

In judgement: the second and third lines are certainly old-fashioned. I also cannot call the poem tasteful, because the initial line of it is unattractive. The style of the Right’s poem is not particularly elegant, but the Left is old-fashioned, so the Right wins.

Love VII: 27

Left.
かくこそは長柄の橋も絶えしかど柱ばかりは名殘やはなき

kaku koso wa
nagara no hashi mo
taeshikado
hashira bakari wa
nagori ya wa naki
And so it is that
The bridge at Nagara
Has ceased to be, yet
Are there not even pillars
In remembrance of what’s gone?

Lord Ari’ie
1013

Right (Win).
今も猶長柄の橋は作りてんつれなき戀は跡だにもなし

ima mo nao
nagara no hashi wa
tsukuriten
tsurenaki koi wa
ato dani mo nashi
Even now is
The bridge at Nagara
Being built?
Of this cruel love
Not even a trace remains…

Nobusada
1014

The Right state: it is certainly possible to say that the ‘bridge at Nagara’ has ‘rotted’ (kutsu), but there are, we think, no other examples of it ‘ceasing’ (tayu). The Left state: we wonder about the appropriateness of saying ‘love not a trace’ (koi ni ato nashi).

In judgement: both poems refer to ‘the bridge at Nagara’ and, as has been mentioned by the Gentlemen of the Right in their criticism, the Left uses ‘has ceased to be, yet’ (taeshikado); there are many poems using ‘rotted’, because this is what happens to the pillars of bridges. After this bridge ceased to be, the pillars would still be rotting away. If you have the bridge ‘being built’ (tsukuru nari), why would you not then have it ‘ceasing’? That being said, I am only accustomed to hearing ‘bridge pillars’ (hashibashira), and having only ‘pillars’ (hashira) sounds completely lacking in logic. The Right’s poem uses ‘love not a trace’ (koi ato nashi): it is entirely natural for a variety of different things not to leave a trace. The current criticism must be due to there not being a prior example of this usage, but it is particularly difficult to say this about the initial section of the poem. The Right wins.

Love VII: 26

Left.
人心緒絶えの橋に立かへり木の葉降りしく秋の通ひ路

hito kokoro
odae no hashi ni
tachikaeri
ko no ha furishiku
aki no kayoiji
Our hearts
On the broken bridge at Odae
Do stand;
Fallen leaves swept along
The autumn paths back and forth…

Lord Sada’ie.
1011

Right.
思はずに緒絶えの橋と成ぬれどなを人知れず戀わたるかな

omowazu ni
odae no hashi to
narinuredo
nao hito shirezu
koi watarukana
Unthinkingly
To the broken bridge of Odae
Have we come, yet
Still, unknown to all,
Might our love make a crossing?

Lord Tsune’ie.
1012

The Gentlemen of the Right state: we wonder about the purpose of ‘fallen leaves swept along’ (ko no ha furishiku) in the Left’s poem. The Gentlemen of the Left state: the Right’s poem is pedestrian.

In judgement: Both the poems of the Left and of the Right use ‘bridge of Odae’ (odae no hashi) which is tasteful. The Left’s ‘fallen leaves swept along’ must be following Ise Monogatari. The gentlemen of the Right must surely be pretending ignorance! The poem of the Right, too, has an elegant total configuration, but ‘unknown to all’ (hito shirezu) is at odds with the emotional overtones. Thus the Left’s ‘fallen leaves swept along the autumn paths back and forth’ is better. I make it the winner.