Shunzei’s judgement: ‘The Left’s ‘At Asaka Marsh’ (asaka no numa) and the Right’s ‘On Sugata Pond the loving mandarin duck calls’ (sugata no ike no oshi no koe) are both tasteful in diction [yū no kotoba ni wa haberu], but beginning with ‘How cruel and cold!’ (ushi tsurashi) sounds like the poet is writing a love letter, and this is overly informal for a poetry competition [uta’awase ni wa kegen naru yō ni ya haberan]. ‘On Sugata Pond the loving mandarin duck calls’ is charming, but why did the poet not continue with ‘I did hear and my sleeves’ (kikishi wa sode no)? In any case, this round neither poem is markedly superior to the other.
The Right say, ‘It sounds as if the Left cannot see frost, unless it’s on a mandarin duck’s down!’
The Left respond, ‘There is the poem ‘the down-clad ducks come to my mind’ (kamo no uwage o omoi koso yare). If one composes a poem about one thing, that’s what one is composing about. As for what the Right have to say in their poem, if one is listening to a cricket’s chirp, how can it be withering away? Dubious! [fushin]’
Shunzei’s judgement: I must say I am doubtful myself about saying frosty dewfall changes the colour of ‘mandarin duckdown’ (oshi no kegoromo). In the Right’s poem, saying, ‘the cricket’s chirp’ (kirigirisu no koe) ‘the withered fields become’ (kareno ni nari ya shinuran) sounds as if one cannot hear it at all. The Left’s use of ‘dew’ (tsuyu), too, seems pointless. The Right has an elegant [yū naru] initial section, but the diction in the final section is dubious [shūku no kotoba fushin ni kikoyu]. I make the round a tie.