Tag Archives: marsh


Composed on early summer rain, while at the estate of Minister of the Emperor’s Household Tsunenaga at Katsurayama.


samidare Fa
miesi wozasa no
Fara mo nasi
asaka no numa no
kokoti nomi site
Summer showers
Have I seen, but broad-leaved bamboo
Groves are there none;
Asaka marsh is
Simply what this feels like!

Fujiwara no Norinaga

Autumn II: 24

Left (Win).


nami yosuru
sawa no ashibe o
kaze ni tatsunari
shigi no hanegaki
A wave beats on
The marshy reed beds;
Roost broken, sorrowfully
Starting up into the breeze
The snipe work their wings.

A Servant Girl.




akenu tote
sawa tatsu shigi no
hito koe wa
hane kaku yori mo
aware narikeri
Crying that there’s no dawn yet,
Starting from the marsh, a snipe’s
Single call,
More that his beating wings
Summons sadness…



The Right wonder, ‘if it wouldn’t be rather difficult for a lightly beat its wings on taking off into the wind, as in the Left’s poem?’ The Left respond with, ‘In the Right’s poem, the accustomed reference to the sound of the snipe’s wings, seems subordinated to its cry. Is that right?’

Shunzei’s judgement: A snipe’s wing-beats on taking off into a strong wind are not that vigorous. ‘The snipe work their wings’ (shigi no hanegaki) is what they do, whether gently or not. However, this poem has more of a feeling of reed-bed dwelling birds like cranes, or plovers. In the Right’s poem, it’s not clear what kind of snipe it is ‘starting from the marsh’. The Left’s ‘reed-bed snipe’ should win.

Autumn I: 17

Left (Win).


hakanashi ya
aretaru yado no
utatane ni
inazuma kayou
tamakura no tsuyu
How brief it was!
In a ruined dwelling
Dozing, when
Lightning crossed
The dewdrops on my pillowing arm…

A Servant Girl.




sawa no hotaru wa
kage kiete
taedae yadoru
yoi no inazuma
All together have
The fireflies above the marsh
Lost their light;
Briefly remaining,
Lightning at the dusk…



The Right state that they have no criticisms of the Left’s poem. The Left wonder about the suitability of fireflies disappearing in the autumn.

Shunzei feels, ‘The Left’s poem is certainly charming in form and expression, but more thought should have been given to the initial phrase “How brief it was!” (hakanashi ya). The Right’s poem, too, is charming, and as for fireflies being a topic for summer poetry alone, in autumn it is acceptable to compose on the failing of their light, is it not? Did not Anjin compose “Fireflies flashing on the palace stairs and gates/Crickets crying from the eaves and tiles”? There is also the example from the Collection of Songs to Sing Aloud of “Seeking cuckoo calls in the dawntime clouds/Innumerable fireflies flit among the autumn grasses”. Still, the Left’s “dewdrops on my pillowing arm” wins, I think.’

SKKS XI: 1002

Sent to a woman at the beginning.


migomori no
numa no iwagaki
ikanaru hima ni
nururu tamoto zo
A secret pool
Within the marsh girt round by rocks
Is hidden, yet
Through some tiny crack
I have soaked my sleeves.

Senior Assistant Governor General of the Province of Kyushu [Fujiwara no] Takatō (949-1013)

SKKS I: 15

Composed on fresh greens, when he composed a hundred poem sequence of reminiscences.


sawa ni ouru
wakana naranedo
itazura ni
toshi o tsumu ni mo
sode wa nurekeri
Growing in the marshes
As fresh greens do, they are not, yet
With the pointless
Gathering of years
My sleeves are soaked.

Master of the Dowager Empress’ Household Office Toshinari