The Right state: the final section of the Left’s poem is difficult to grasp. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.
In judgement: the Left’s ‘sleeping all alone how deep this night is…’ (maro ga marone mo yobukaki mono o) does not sound as if it links with the initial section of the poem. ‘Alone’ (maro) is also unacceptable. The Right’s ‘to lend me an over-mantle’ (mi no shirogoromo) sounds elegant. I make it the winner.
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.
Left and Right together: both poems are about spiders, and have no faults to mention.
In judgement: both poems seem elegant in their reference to ‘spider’s spinning’ (kumo no furumai). However, the Left’s central section recalls ‘Men are not trees or stone – they have feelings’ – while this is elegant diction in Chinese composition, it does not seem so in our own poetry. The Right’s ‘so be it then, I thought’ (sa mo aramashi) is fine, but ‘unreliable is this night’ (tanomenu yoi) sounds as if the night is already over. Princess Sotōri, too, has ‘must surely come tonight’ (kubeki yoi nari), but then appears to have ‘a certain sign’ (kanete shirushi mo). Still, this is surely describing a situation where one once had doubts, but feel that tonight is reliable. The Right is slightly superior.
The Gentlemen of the Right state: what is the meaning of ‘the eternal gods’ (toko no kami). In appeal, the Left: in the Chronicles of Japan, insects are worshipped under the name of ‘the eternal gods’ and made to seem like men. The Left state: what can an insect chatter about?
In judgement: in regard to the Left’s poem, while it is true that insects were worshipped, a poem on ‘Love and Insects’ with no insect is lacking something from the start. This poem would seem to be more a case of ‘Love and Prayers’. Thus, this is nothing enduring. A prior example has been contrived, but this is ineffective. It does not seem as if this insect’s nature has any relation to the topic. The Right’s poem has a commonplace cricket. Where is the fault in having it lighten one’s mood with chatter? Thus, the Right must win.
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.
The Right state: what gives rise to the idea in the Left’s poem? The Gentlemen of the Left state: there are no faults we can find.
In judgement: what sort of bird is it that ‘soaring through the skies gives a single call’ (sora tobu tori no hitogoe)? I wonder if there is a suitable source for this? That being said, I doubt the Gentlemen of the Right’s point is pertinent. It has been stated that the Right’s poem lacks any faults. It must win.