horiteokishi ike wa kagami to kōredomo kage ni mo mienu toshi zo henikeru All dug out The pond into a mirror Has frozen, yet Reflected, I cannot see The year gone by!
furu yuki no tsumoreru mine wa shirayuki no tachi mo sawagazu oru ka to zo miru The falling snow Has drifted upon the peaks Whiteness Arrives without a rustle Making me wonder if it’s there at all…
On a thin layer of ice remaining atop a pond, for a Poetry Contest held at the Residence of Imperial Princess Miwako.
usugōri nokori sukunaku narinikeri ike no kagami to fuyu wa mishikado The film of ice Mere remnants Has become; Yet in the mirror of the pond Winter was once seen…
kawa to dani kagami ni miyuru mono naraba wasururu hodo mo aramashi mono o If a river does even A mirror seem To be, then When I am forgotten I would have it, at least, remain…
Old Folk 老人
asana asana miredo mukashi no kage narade hi ni soe oi no masukagami kana Each morn I look, yet yesterday’s Face fails to appear, and With each passing day, old age Is clear within my mirror!
Wang Zhaojun 王昭君
mieba ya na mieba saritomo omoi’izuru kagami ni mi o mo kaetekeru kana If I had but been seen… But even had I been seen, I remember The mirror where my reflection Changed!
fuku kaze ni mikusa katayoru ikemizu wa nakaba kumoreru kagami narikeri With the gusting wind The waterweeds trail through The pondwater, turning What lies within into a clouded Mirror.
Mandarin Ducks 鴛鴦
misabi inu kagami no ike ni sumu oshi wa mizukara kage o narabete zo miru A rust-red stained Mirror is the pond where Dwells a mandarin: His own water-borne reflection Does he match and gaze upon…
Composed on plum blossom blooming by the water’s edge.
tosi wo Fete Fana no kagami to naru midu Fa tirikakaru wo ya kumoru to iFuran As the year draws on The blossom mirroring Waters With scattered petals Will be clouded, one might say?
hatsuo no kagami
mishi omokage ni
ne wa nakarekeri A mountain pheasant’s
Tail of hempen cord this mirror
Does not suspend, yet
The face I saw there once
Makes me weep out loud…
hono mishimano ni
mozu no kusaguki Her face
I did but briefly see at Mishimano
When I visited there;
I know not where has gone
The shrike hiding in the grasses.
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 combining ‘Mishima Plain’ (
mishimano) with ‘the shrike hiding in the grasses ( mozu no kusaguki). Is there a poem as a precedent for this? If not, is it suitable?
In judgement: both poems have the conception of love: of imagining the pheasant and his mirror, and weeping at the memory of a lover’s face; and thinking of the shrike hiding in the grasses, visiting Mishima Plain, and recalling the past. However, what should we do about the matter of whether there is a precedent poem for ‘the shrike hiding in the grasses’ on Mishima Plain? Surely, it could be any plain, so there is no reason not to use this. The configuration of ‘I know not where has gone’ (
yukue shirarenu) sounds better than that of ‘makes me weep out loud’ ( ne wa nakarekeri). The Right, again, must win, I think.
woro no hatsuwo ni
na ni kosorikeme A mountain pheasant’s
Tail of hempen cord
Hangs this mirror;
That you foresaw its song
Does make me love you more.