Tag Archives: nokiba

Kinkai wakashū 35

After I had had various people compose on the scent of plum carried on the breeze.


kono nenuru
asake no kaze ni
kaoru nari
nokiba no ume no
haru no hatsubana
Having slept
The dawntime breeze
Is scented:
Beneath my eaves the plum
Shows spring’s first blossom.
Created with Soan.

Horikawa-in Enjo Awase 15


hito shirenu
sode zo tsuyukeki
au koto wa
kare nomi masaru
yama no shitagusa
Unknown to all
My sleeves are drenched with dew;
For our meetings
Excel only in being withered
As the scrub grass on the mountainside.

[Nakako,] The Suō Handmaid

In reply.


oku yama no
shitakagegusa wa
kare ya suru
nokiba ni nomi wa
onore naritsutsu
Deep within the mountains, have
The grasses growing in the trees’ dark shade
Really withered away?
Simply beneath your eaves,
Is where I ever am…

The Consultant Middle Captain

A picture of the eaves of a traditional Japanese house.
Image by joyfultta from Pixabay

San’i minamoto no hirotsune ason uta’awase 9

Round Nine: Quiet thoughts at Tanabata



yae mugura
shigeru nokiba o
hoshiai no sora o
nagametsuru kana
Eightfold thickets
Grow lushly beneath my eaves;
Pulling them apart upon
The sky of trysting stars
Will I turn my gaze!

Taira no Sadatsugu[1]




tanabata no
au yo no hodo wa
kokoro sae koso
sora ni sumikere
Tanabata is
A night for meeting—throughout it
I am filled with longing:
Even my very heart
Does dwell among the skies.

Fujiwara no Kaneyuki[2]


[1] Taira no Sadatsugu 平貞継. The identity of this individual is unclear. This poem is his sole appearance in a poetry contest.

[2] 藤原兼行

Love VIII: 12

Left (Tie)

uchineru yoi mo
fuki dani susame
niwa no matsukaze
Unable to bear the pains of love, and
Dozing through the night –
That happens sometimes;
O, just blow gently,
Breeze through the garden pines!

A Servant Girl


nagamureba mata
yūhi sasu
nokiba no oka no
matsu mo urameshi
Unable to bear the pains of love,
When I gaze out, once more
The evening sun shines
Past my eaves, where on the hillside
Even the pines seem resentful…


Same as the previous round.

In judgement: here we have ‘O, just blow gently’ (fuki dani susame), and the Right has ‘Past my eaves, where on the hillside’ (nokiba no oka no): these recollect the poems ‘in the depths of sleep I tread to you’ (uchinuru naka ni yukikayou) and ‘the beams strike the hillside through the pine needles’ (sasu ya okabe no  matsu no ha); both sound elegant. I make this round a tie.

Love VIII: 1

Left (Win)

hito ni nokiba no
namida no ame zo
Forgotten by
Him, beneath my eaves
The ferns bring back memories;
A rain of tears
Leaves them dew-drenched.

Lord Kanemune


koizuma no
yagate nokiba ni
itodo shinobu no
kusa zo shigereru
My man is
Far away; beneath my eaves
Are the signs:
How many memories and
Ferns grow thickly…

Lord Tsune’ie

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

In judgement: both poems refer to ‘memory ferns’ (shinobugusa), and there is not a great deal of difference in quality between them, but the Left’s ‘rain of tears’ (namida no ame), with its association of dew, is slightly better than the Right’s ‘ferns grow thickly’ (kusa zo shigereru), and so should win.

Love VI: 24

Left (Win).

fukaki yo no
noki no shizuku o
nao amari nuru
sode no ame kana
Late at night,
From my eaves the droplets
I number up, but
Still much more drenching
Is the rainfall on my sleeves.

A Servant Girl.


kumo tozuru
yado no nokiba no
yū nagame
koi yori amaru
ame no oto kana
Closed in with cloud,
From my dwelling’s eaves
I gaze out in the evening;
Overwhelming my love
Is the sound of rain…


The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults. The Left state: we do not understand the Right’s poem at all.

In judgement: the Left’s poem commences with ‘late at night’ (fukaki yo no) and then continues with mention of raindrops – this sounds extremely effective. The Right’s poem, too, starts ‘closed in with cloud’ (kumo tozuru) and concludes with ‘the sound of rain’ (ame no oto kana), which sounds charming, but because the poem is said to be ‘incomprehensible’ or ‘grating on the ear’, despite being one with both a significant conception and an unusual sound, there is no reason for me to shoehorn in my own views, even if much has been overlooked, so this round I will leave it at, the Right is entirely incomprehensible and the Left without fault. Thus, the Left wins.

Love V: 23

Left (Tie).

magaki no shima no
warinasa ni
sumu kai nashi ya
chika no shiogama
Barring our way is
The fence – Magaki Isle:
So unreasonable
That living close is pointless, as if
We were at Chika’s salt-kilns!



narabu nokiba no
yūgure ni
omoi o kawasu
sasagani no ito
A weeping fern lies
Between our almost touching eaves;
In the evening
Love will pass
Along the spider’s thread.


The Right state: the Left’s ‘Magaki Isle’ (magaki no shima) and ‘Chika’s salt kiln’s’ (chika no shiogama) do not seem that nearby, do they? They only evoke closeness through wordplay. The Right state: we find no faults to indicated in the Left’s poem.

In judgement: the Left’s ‘Magaki Isle’ and ‘Chika’s salt kilns’, even if they are not that close, do not display a lack of technique in the conception of the current composition. I do wonder what to think about ‘so unreasonable’ (warinasa ni), though. The Right’s weeping ferns, with the spider’s behaviour transmitting the feelings of love, does not seem unreasonable either. This round, too, the poems are comparable and should tie.