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.
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.
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.
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.
Shunzei’s judgement: Both Left and Right seem superb in form and diction [sugata kotoba wa yoroshiku miehaberu], but the Right’s ‘cogon-grass grows’ (asaji tatsu) is pretentious [yauyaushiku], and I wonder what to make [ikaga to oboehaberu] of the final ‘wet with constant showers’ (uchishiguretsutsu), but the conception [kokoro] of the Left’s ‘Utsu Mountain’, with its ‘ancient ruins’ brought back to memory by ‘on the withered ivy leaves the winds of autumn a’blowing’, is particularly tasteful [en]. Thus, the Left certainly wins.
Neither team has any criticisms of the other’s poem.
Shunzei’s judgement: There is no distinction to make between the diction or emotional import of either poem. There is, of course, no reason to expect the wind not to blow through the pine trees, when it brushes the bush clover. I feel that the sentiment of this poem’s ‘pine-brushed wind’ (matsukaze ni naru) resembles that of Round One Hundred and Ninety’s ‘Insects sing from the cogon grasses in my garden’ (mushi no ne ni naru niwa no asajū), but is somewhat inferior. The Left, though, truly captures the feeling.
Neither team has any criticisms of the other’s poem this round.
Shunzei agrees: ‘Both poems are superb in both style and form and, in addition, the initial sections are generally similar, but in terms of the concluding sections, the Left’s is slightly deeper. Thus, the Left wins.’