The Right state: the Left’s poem is overly lacking in thought. The Left state: no faults.
In judgement: the Left has ‘for that cruel one’ (ukibito yue ni) – does this mean perhaps that one is unable to sleep as a result of someone’s cruelty? The reference to ‘a shrimp among the seaweed’ (mo ni sumu mushi) in the Right’s latter section feels overly abrupt and sounds lacking in connection to anything else in the poem. ‘That cruel one’ sounds somewhat insufficient, but it certainly has no faults. Thus, the Left wins.
The Gentlemen of the Right: the Left’s poem has no faults to mention. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we wonder about the appropriateness of ‘dewfall damps down’ (tsuyu ni wa moenu).
In judgement: the Left’s poem has been stated to be without fault by the gentlemen present. In the Right’s poem, I wonder if saying, ‘dewfall damps down’ is meaning nothing burns in autumn? On the matter of using the term ‘summer insects’ (natsumushi) to refer to fireflies, I do wonder whether it is appropriate to imply with one’s composition that there are no such insects in autumn. Although in the Collection of Poems to Sing Aloud, fireflies occur in the Summer section, among the same collection’s Chinese poems there is ‘in the dark before dawn innumerable fireflies start from the autumn grasses’. Furthermore, in Pan Anren’s ‘Rhapsody on Autumn Inspirations’ he says, ‘Glittering fireflies shine by the palace gate, and crickets sing from the eaves of the fence’. Even though there are countless cases of Autumn fireflies, how can one have composed suggesting that there are not? Thus, the Left wins.
Composed for a picture based on the Song of Everlasting Woe, for the scene where Xuanzong had returned home and the emperor was depicted weeping with insects calling from the withered cogon grass all around him.
asadi ga Fara to
yosugara musi no
ne nomi zo naku
My old home
With cogon grass is
All night the insects
Simply let forth their cries…
The Right state that they are unable to understand [kokoro yukazu] the usage of ‘revealed’ (miewakaru) in the Left’s poem. The Left find no faults in the Right’s poem.
Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s use of ‘revealed’ sounds appropriate [yoroshiku kikoehaberu] in this poem, and ‘on this withered field the insects’ (kareno wa mushi) is most tasteful [yū ni koso haberumere]. The conception of the Right’s ‘Autumn’s hues have faded from this field’ (aki no iro no utsurou nobe) where ‘sorrow is evergreen’ (aware wa karenu) is most moving, indeed; the Left, too, has a find conclusion to their poem, and so with both being heartfelt [kokoro utsurite], the round should tie.
The Right say that the Left’s poem is ‘fine, perhaps’ [yoroshiki ka]. The Left reply that the Right’s ‘lacks any faults.’
Shunzei’s judgement: Both poems are on the topic of ‘withered fields’ and the Right has a fine final section with ‘the plain of Miyagino’ (miyagino no hara), but the initial section with ‘stags’ and ‘insects’ sounds as if the poet is enumerating members of list [kazoetatetaru yō ni ya kikoyu]. The Left, with its ‘The fields autumn bring back to me’ (nohara ni aki no shinobarete), followed by ‘Within my heart a stag cries out’ (kokoro no uchi ni shika zo nakinuru), is most fine. The Left should win.