Tag Archives: mulberry cloth

Autumn III: 13

Left.

分け來つる情のみかはそが菊の色もてはやす白妙の袖

wakekitsuru
nasake nomi ka wa
sogagiku no
iro motehayasu
shirotae no sode
To tell between them
Does not need soft thoughts alone ?
Yellow chrysanthemumsf
Hues combined with
Sleeves of white mulberry cloth.

Kenshō.

445

Right.

長月の今日九日といひ顔に折り得て見ゆる白菊の花

nagatsuki no
kyō kokonoka
to ii kao ni
oriete miyuru
shiragiku no hana
‘Of the Longest Month
Today is the Ninth day,’
So seem to say,
Plucked and in my sight,
These white chrysanthemums.

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.

446

The Right say that the meaning of sogagiku is unclear. The Left respond, ‘They are yellow chrysanthemums. Emperor Ninmyō [Soga] was known to be fond of the colour yellow and so this is a term for yellow chrysanthemums.’ The Right then continue, ‘The Man’yōshū uses the term sogai (“rear”), in poems with the conception of “pursuing after” [oisugai no kokoro nari]. So are these not, therefore, chrysanthemums which are later in blooming on riverbanks, perhaps?’

The Left content themselves with saying that the Right’s poem shows no particular brilliance of construction, nor significant faults.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘Does not need soft thoughts alone’ (nasake nomi ka wa) is by no means bad in the context of this poem [kono uta ni torite wa ashikarazarubeshi]. The explanation about yellow chrysanthemums is, indeed, one that has had some circulation recently. Lord Toshiyori apparently declared sogagiku to be ‘a single stem of yellow chrysanthemums’. The Right’s other query on the relationship with the Man’yō term sogai, does not seem to be without merit [muri ni arazaru]. It has been said that the Right’s poem lacks faults, but I cannot appreciate ‘so seem to say’ (ii kao ni) as proper diction [shokisebekarazaru kono kotoba haberubeki]. In the absence of definite proof from the reign of Emperor Ninmyō about the sense of sogagiku, I make this round a tie.

Summer I: 18

Left.

雲の上を出づる使のもろかづら向かふ日影にかざすけふかな

kumo no ue o
izuru tsukai no
morokazura
mukau hikage ni
kazasu kyō kana
From above the clouds
The messengers emerge;
Bearing branches, hollyhock decked,
Bent towards the sun-bright power
In adornment on this day.

Lord Sada’ie.

215

Right (Win).

ゆふだすきかけてぞ頼む玉かづらあふひうれしきみあれと思へば

yūdasuki
kakete zo tanomu
tamakazura
aoi ureshiki
miare to omoeba
With mulberry-cloth
Garlanded, wishing for
A jewelled belt of
Hollyhocks, on this joyful
Festive day…

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.

216

The Right have no particular remarks to make about the Left’s poem. The Left, however, comment, ‘“Festival” (matsuri)and “festive” (miare) are somewhat different. They do not refer to events held on the same day.’

Shunzei responds, ‘While the Left’s “Bent towards the sun-bright power” (mukau hikage) certainly provides no evidence of a lack of feeling, in overall form the Right’s poem seems more elegantly flowing [migi utazama, iinagasaretaru yō]. While it is true that the festive days begin two days prior to the festival itself, the term can also apply to the evening of the festival day, and so the two can be seen as synonymous. The Right would seem to win.’

Love 79

Left.

心からあくがれそめし花の香になを物思ふ春の曙

kokoro kara
akugaresomeshi
hana no ka ni
nao mono’omou
haru no akebono
My heart
From the very first did love
The blossoms’ scent, which
Still, brings me to thoughts of you
This spring dawning…

157

Right (Win).

白妙の袖のわかれに露落て身にしむ色の秋風ぞ吹

shirotae no
sode no wakare ni
tsuyu ochite
mi ni shimu iro no
aki kaze zo fuku
White mulberry-cloth
Sleeves parting:
Dew dropped,
The colours stain my soul,
Yearning carried on the autumn wind.

158

Autumn 31

Left.

白妙の衣しでうつひゞきより置まよふ霜の色にいづらむ

shirotae no
koromo shide utsu
hibiki yori
okimayou shimo no
iro ni izuramu
White mulberry cloth
Garb fulled hard:
Do the echoes
Fretful frostfall’s
Hues bring forth?

61

Right (Win)

秋とだにわすれむとおもふ月影をさもあやにくにうつ衣かな

aki to dani
wasuremu to omou
tsukikage o
samo ayaniku ni
utsu koromo kana
My autumn longings, at least,
Thought I to forget, amongst
The moonlight,
Yet, alas, how
Sad the sound of fulling cloth…

62