The Right state: it sounds as if the man is enduring on the treetops. The Left state: ‘I will listen no more!’ (kikaji tada) is extremely coarse.
In judgement: while it may sound as if the man is enduring on the treetops in the Left’s poem, this is no more than a standard use of metaphorical expression, and the configuration of ‘accustomed to his being here, now, he comes not and from the treetops’ (suminareshi hito wa kozue ni) sounds fine, with the latter part of the poem also being elegant. The initial line of the Right’s poem has a conception of closing up the ears to block one’s auditory sense, which seems excessive. Clearly, the Left’s ‘my zither’s strains’ (koto no ne ni nomi) must win.
koto no ne mo
matsu ni wa kayou
mono to koso kike
My zither’s strains
Blend with the pines
I had heard…
The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to mention. The Left state: the Right’s poem is not bad.
In judgement: both Gentlemen’s ‘zithers’ (koto) appear to be equally elegant, and the Right has a fine final section. The Left seems pleasant in both the initial and latter sections. So, the Left wins.
The Right state: the Left’s poem is preposterous. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.
In judgement: the Left’s poem seems to be aping the style of the Left in the previous round. As for the Right’s poem, although ‘zithers’ harmony’ (koto no shirabe) sounds modern, it is in a standard style. It should win.
The Right state: the Left’s poem gives the impression of being based on something – but what? The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.
In judgement: there is nothing unusual about the Left’s poem. It simply seems to be in the conception of the Man’yōshū poem where, ‘a Japanese zither made from the wood of the parasol tree transforms into a maiden in a dream, and says “When will / The day come that / I shall sing / Making his lap / My pillow?”’ I also have the feeling that it is alluding to the subsequent poem, however. So, it is certainly not the case that it is not based on anything. The Right’s poem has ‘heartstrings are not tugged’ (kokoro no hikanu) and then the metaphorical ‘though I pine for her’ (wa ga matsu ni koso), so is certainly not lacking in conception either. They are equivalent and tie.
In judgement: here we have ‘O, just blow gently’ (fuki dani susame), and the Right has ‘Past my eaves, where on the hillside’ (nokiba no oka no): these recollect the poems ‘in the depths of sleep I tread to you’ (uchinuru naka ni yukikayou) and ‘the beams strike the hillside through the pine needles’ (sasu ya okabe no matsu no ha); both sound elegant. I make this round a tie.
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.
The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to mention. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we wonder about the appropriateness of ‘petals, my tears’ (hana mo namida ni).
In judgement: the Left’s poem, with ‘he simply’ (kimi wa yomo) followed by ‘Thinks of me with pity, O pines of Iwashiro!’ (aware to dani mo iwashiro no matsu) is certainly elegant. The Right’s poem does have ‘petals, my tears’ (hana mo namida ni). It commences, ‘loving him, my dwelling’s cherry trees’ (hito kouru yado no sakura) and, when they are blown by the wind, the lady’s eyes darken with tears, and she is unable to distinguish the mass of blossom. It unclear which of the two should be winner, or loser. Thus, I shall make this a tie.
The Right state: the Left’s poem lacks any faults. The Left state: the Right’s poem is pedestrian.
In judgement: the configuration of the Left’s ‘Blow across the bay!’ (ura ni fuke) and its links with the preceding and subsequent lines, sounds charming. The Right’s poem is stylistically elegant, but the poem more closely resembles a poem on the topic of ‘Love and Pine Trees’. Thus, the Left wins.