Tag Archives: mushi

Autumn III: 22

Left.

蟲の音の弱るもしるく淺茅生に今朝は寒けくはだれ霜降る

mushi no ne no
yowaru mo shiruku
asajū ni
kesa wa samukeku
hadare shimo furu
The insects’ cries
Have plainly weakened;
Cogon grass, where
On this chilly morning
Patchy frost has fallen.

Lord Ari’ie.

463

Right.

思ふより又あはれは重ねけり露に霜置く庭の蓬生

omou yori
mata aware wa
kasanekeri
tsuyu ni shimo oku
niwa no yomogyū
I feel
Yet more sadness
Laid upon me:
Upon the dew has frost fallen
In my tangled mugwort garden…

Jakuren.

464

The Right find no fault with the Left’s poem. The Left wonder about the appropriateness of ‘upon the dew has frost fallen’ (tsuyu ni shimo oku).

The Right respond, ‘This refers to when frost falls upon something where dew has already fallen.’ In reply, the Left say, ‘Surely, it is when both of them fall together. We do wonder about frost falling on top of dew.’

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s poem has an unclear link between its initial and final sections. On the matter of the Right’s ‘frosty dew’, this has the same sense as in the Right’s poem in the previous round. The dew has frozen into frost, surely? However, as the Left’s poem is not worthy of a victory, the round must tie.

Autumn II: 10

Left (Win).

夕さればそゝや下葉も安からで露は袂に荻の上風

yūsareba
soso ya shitaba mo
yasukarade
tsuyu wa tamoto ni
ogi no uwakaze
When the evening comes,
Rustling underleaves
Are restless;
Dewdrops on the sleeves:
Wind o’er the silver-grass.

Lord Ari’ie.

379

Right.

暮行けば野邊も一つに露滿ちて蟲の音になる庭の淺茅生

kureyukeba
nobe mo hitotsu ni
tsuyu michite
mushi no ne ni naru
niwa no asajū
When evening falls
The plains, too, are completely
Dew-drenched;
Insects sing from
The cogon grasses in my garden.

Ietaka.

380

The Right remark that ‘it is not clear what the “underleaves” (shitaba) belong to until the end of the poem’. The Left have a number of criticisms: ‘In the Right’s poem, it sounds as if the “cogon grass” (asaji) becomes “insects”. In addition, the topic of this poem is not “Garden Huts”. Furthermore, the poem lacks any expression conveying the emotional overtones of the topic – particularly with “the plains, too, are completely” (nobe mo hitotsu ni).’

Shunzei’s judgement: It is standard expression to begin a poem with ‘underleaves’, when concluding with ‘silver-grass’ as in the Left’s case. However, ‘rustling’ (sosoya) seems unnecessary in this poem. It seems a rather forced interpretation to think the cogon grass is turning into insects, seeing as this is not something that happens in nature. That this is a poem more suited to the topic of ‘Garden Huts’, though, is an unavoidable fault. So, while I cannot be satisfied with the inclusion of ‘rustling’, the final section of this poem is fine. It wins.