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Love IX: 19

Left
戀衣いつか干るべき河社しるしも浪にいとゞしほれて

koigoromo
itsuka hirubeki
kawa yashiro
shirushi mo nami ni
itodo shiorete
My clothes of love,
When might they dry?
A river shrine
Has had no effect – the waves
Dampen them all the more…

Kenshō
1117

Right (Win)
いかで猶夜半の衣を返しても重ねしほどの夢をだに見ん

ikade nao
yowa no koromo o
kaeshitemo
kasaneshi hodo no
yume o dani min
What to do? Again
My night time garb
Inside out I turn –
As many layers
As dreams, if only I would see…

Takanobu
1118

The Right state: there are a number of different theories about the source poem ‘stems of bamboo wave freely the clothes I’d dry’ (shino ni orihae hosu koromo), so how should the allusion here be correctly understood? In response: this refers to a summer performance of sacred music and dance. In this, sprigs of sakaki are placed in clear water, and bamboo stems are hung from the shelf as offerings. This is the river shrine (kawa yashiro). It appears in the records about sacred music in summer. Standard sacred music is performed to pray to the gods. Thus, if one is made to bear the weight of something one has not done, the feeling is close to the conception of damp clothes, is it not? And this is associated with the clothes of lovers that will not dry. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.

In judgement:  the Left’s poem seems to be more about a ‘river shrine’ than ‘lovers’ clothing’ (koigoromo). While it is not entirely clear, the Left and Right’s criticism and response, are certainly unusual. There are two poems which are possible as sources for this, both of which appear in Tsurayuki’s Collection. These are: ‘At a river shrine / Stems of bamboo wave freely / The clothes I’d dry / How should I do so? / Seven days still damp…’  and:

行く水のうへにいはへる河社河浪高くあそぶなるかな

yuku mizu no
ue ni iwaeru
kawa yashiro
kawa nami takaku
asobunaru kana
The waters run, and
Above them in celebration is
A river shrine;
The river’s waves rise high,
Taking pleasure in their play!

This latter is a poem from a folding screen with pictures of each of the moons of the year, painted in the Tenryaku Era. Moreover, in a work by Lord Toshiyori, he says, ‘There is no one today who knows what a “river shrine” is. All we can do now is guess. So people say that it was a shrine on top of the water, where sacred music was performed in summer. The latter poem certainly does not seem to have this meaning. The former makes no mention of sacred music, and simply talks of clothing one has wanted to dry for a long time not drying.’ In addition, I have questioned a member of a household familiar with sacred music about this matter, and been told, ‘Where summer sacred music is concerned, there is a particular way of it. It is definitely absent from the records.’ Furthermore, Toshiyori played the double-reed flute. He would clearly have known all about sacred music, and around this time wrote, ‘first of all, there is no one who knows of this,’ and yet the Left’s response simply states, ‘it appears in the records about sacred music.’ This is something which requires greater proof. If the gentleman of the Left is able to provide some now, this would be a fine thing for the Way of Music! These, in brief, are my thoughts on this matter and, of course, the Left’s response.

First, it is a mistake to say that the river shrine is necessarily connected with summer sacred music. Summer sacred music is just what it sounds like: in summer, sacred music is performed, but not in any fixed way. However, here summer sacred music is done before a river shrine. Kawa yashiro shino ni is an old term for widely or ordinarily. It appears to have been used this way in the Collection of a Myriad Leaves. Orihaete has the same meaning. In the phrase ‘drying a robe / seven days undrying’ (hosu koromo / nanoka hizu) seven, or eight, days is simply a poetic convention for conveying that something was not dry after a long time. The ‘robe’ is not really a piece of clothing, but something which resembles it, and which is not dry. Ise said of the so-called Ryūmon Waterfall, ‘So why should the mountain’s princess rinse her cloth’ (nani yama hime no nuno sarasuramu) and also there are expressions such as ‘Nunohiki Falls’. Thus we have the Left’s argument for the summer sacred music platform, and then Lord Toshiyori’s writings; further, on the term shino ‘bamboo hung from the shelf as an offering to the gods’ and ‘clothing has the conception of damp clothing’. This is a remarkable way of interpreting the poem, indeed! The only way to settle the matter would be with the presentation of definite proof. So, this is certainly something which His Grace should request for review. In short, the Left’s poem, beginning with the idea that lovers’ clothing is to pray at a river shrine, and then saying ‘it has no effect’ (shirushi mo nami ni) seems like everlasting bitterness. The Right’s poem says ‘my night time garb inside out I turn’ (yowa no koromo o kaeshitemo), which is quite ordinary. In the absence of definite proof for the Left’s contentions, the Right must win.

KKS I: 12

A poem from the Poetry Competition held in the reign of the Kanpyō Empress.

谷風にとくる氷のひまごとに打いづる波や春のはつ花

tanikaze ni
tokuru koFori no
Fimagoto ni
uti’iduru nami ya
Faru no FatuFana
In the valley’s breezes
Does melt the ice, and
From every crack
Do burst waves – are these
The first blooms of spring?

Minamoto no Masazumi
源当純

Love VIII: 18

Left (Win)
鴨のゐる入江の浪を心にて胸と袖とにさはぐ戀かな

kamo no iru
irie no nami o
kokoro nite
mune to sode to ni
sawagu koi kana
Ducks flock on
The inlet’s waves
Within my heart, so
My breast and sleeves both
Are raucous with love!

Lord Sada’ie
1055

Right
佐保川の霧のまよひの程だにも妻もとむとて千鳥鳴夜を

saogawa no
kiri no mayoi no
hodo dani mo
tsuma motomu tote
chidori naku yo o
To the vernal river:
The mist brings confusion
And in its midst,
Seeking a mate,
A plover cries at night…

Jakuren
1056

The Gentlemen of the Right state: we wonder about the appropriateness of ‘my breast and sleeves both are raucous’ (mune to sode to ni sawagu)? The Left, in appeal, state: there is ‘the river-mouths of my sleeves’ (sode no minato) and ‘when I think, upon my breast’ (omoeba mune ni) so linking ‘breast’ and ‘sleeve’ is entirely uncontroversial. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we find no faults to mention in the Right’s poem.

In judgement: I understand the views of the Left’s poem held by both teams. It has also been said that the Right’s poem lacks faults. However, in ‘seeking a mate, a plover cries at night’ (tsuma motomu tote chidori naku yo o) only the two words ‘at night’ (yo o) have any conception of love. The remainder of the poem is simply about plovers, so there is little of love about it. ‘Breast and sleeves both’ (mune to sode to) should win.

Love VIII: 2

Left (Win)
今はさはあはれと思へ菅の根の長き心の程は見つらん

ima wa sa wa
aware to omoe
suga no ne no
nagaki kokoro no
hodo wa mitsuran
Now, indeed, let you
Think fondly of me!
The grasses’ roots run
Long, my heart’s
Love will you see…

Lord Suetsune
1023

Right
世とゝもにかはくまもなき我袖や潮干もわかぬ浪の下草

yo to tomo ni
kawaku ma mo naki
wa ga sode ya
shioi mo wakanu
nami no shitagusa
With the passing time,
Not a moment dry
Are my sleeves;
Low tide does not reveal
The seaweed beneath the waves…

Lord Takanobu
1024

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to indicate. The Left state: the Right’s poem is clichéd.

In judgement: the Right, in addition to being clichéd, can say no more than that love means wet sleeves. The Left’s ‘grasses’ roots’ (suga no ne) is certainly better.

Love VII: 30

Left (Win)
恋わたる夜はのさむしろ波かけてかくや待けん宇治の橋姫

koi wataru
yowa no samushiro
nami kakete
kaku ya machiken
uji no hashihime
Crossed in love
At night my mat of straw
Is washed by waves;
Is this how she waits,
The maid at Uji bridge.

A Servant Girl
1019

Right
いにしへの宇治の橋守身をつまば年経る恋を哀とも見よ

inishie no
uji no hashimori
mi o tsumaba
toshi furu koi o
aware tomo miyo
Ancient
Warden of Uji bridge,
If you pinch me,
How I have aged with love for you
Will you know, and pity me…

Jakuren
1020

Left and Right together state: we find no faults to mention.

In judgement: the style of both the Left’s ‘maid at Uji bridge’ (uji no hashihime) and the Right’s ‘Warden of Uji bridge’ (uji no hashimori) is pleasant, and the Left’s ‘Is this how she waits, the maid at Uji bridge’ (kaku ya machiken uji no hashihime) draws on the conception of a tale from long ago, and the configuration also seems deeply moving. Thus, the Left should win.

Love VII: 25

Left (Win).
いざやさは君に逢はずは渡らじと身を宇治橋に書き付けてみん

iza ya sa wa
kimi ni awazu wa
wataraji to
mi o ujihashi ni
kakitsuketemin
So, then,
If I am not to meet you,
I’ll not cross
In my despair, the bridge at Uji,
But just inscribe this here…

Kenshō
1009

Right.
都思ふ濱名の橋の旅人や浪に濡れては恋渡るらむ

miyako omou
hamana no hashi no
tabibito ya
nami ni nurete wa
koiwataruran
His thoughts on the capital,
The bridge at Hamana,
Does a traveller,
Wet by the waves,
Cross while lost in love?

Lord Takanobu
1010

The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to indicate. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we wonder if the Right’s poem does not sound as if it is only the capital which the poet loves?

In judgement: in the Left’s poem, ‘If I am not to meet you, I’ll not cross’ (kimi ni awazu wa wataraji to)  is particularly charming, having the conception of the tale of Sima Xiangru in Mengqiu, at the bridge into the commandery of Shu, where he says, ‘If I am not aboard a four-horse carriage, I’ll never cross this bridge again!’, and then later was made a Cavalryman in Permanent Attendance, and entered as an imperial messenger. Metaphorically, it also evokes his meeting with Wenjun, and so seems particularly profound. The poem of the Right commences with ‘His thoughts on the capital’ (miyako omou) and then continues with ‘wet by the waves, cross while lost in love’ (nami ni nurete wa koiwataruran). I do not see how one can say that this poem lacks the conception of Love. However, the conception of the Left’s poem seems rare, indeed. Thus, it wins.

Love VII: 21

Left.
夜を重ね心の関のかたきかなわが音は鳥の空音ならねば

yo o kasane
kokoro no seki no
kataki kana
wa ga ne wa tori no
sorane naraneba
Night upon night
The barriers upon your heart
Stand firm, indeed!
For the sounds I make are no cock’s
False crow!

Lord Ari’ie
1001

Right (Win).
人知れぬうらみにあまる浪の上を抑ふる袖や須磨の関守

hito shirenu
urami ni amaru
nami no ue o
osauru sode ya
suma no sekimori
She cannot know
The prospect of my despair;
Dashed upon the waves
Are my sleeves
Barrier Wardens at Suma?

Jakuren
1002

The Right state: why specifically refer to a ‘false crow’ (sorane)? This makes it sound as if the barrier would not be opened for a real bird’s cry. In response, the Left: as there is the precedent of a barrier being opened in response to a false crow, the poem draws upon this to refer to ‘the sounds I make’ (wa ga ne) – we fail to see why this is problematic. The Left state: we find no faults in need of identification in the Right’s poem.

In judgement: it seems difficult to distinguish between ‘the sounds I make’ and the ‘false crow’ in the Left’s poem, and the Right’s ‘dashed upon the waves are my sleeves’ (osauru sode) is pleasant. Thus, the Right wins.