Tag Archives: peaks

Winter II: 7

Left (Win).


yuki no uchi ni
nao mo midori no
iro nagara
chiyo o arawasu
mine no wakamatsu
In amongst the snows,
Yet still does the fresh, green
Hue remain;
A thousand years made manifest in
The young pines on the peak.

Lord Suetsune.




kesa mireba
yuki takasago no
matsu ga e wa
tsuchi ni tsuku made
Looking on this morning
The snow has reached such heights
The pine boughs are
Bent down to the ground,
Buried by the fall…

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right find no fault with the Left’s poem. The Left state that the Right’s poem is ‘lacking in sense’.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘A thousand years made manifest in the young pines on the peak’ (chiyo o arawasu mine no wakamatsu) is charming [okashiku miehaberu], but the in the phrase ‘Yet still does the fresh, green’ (nao mo midori no), the use of ‘still’ (mo) is old-fashioned, and including it produces a phrasing which is inferior to ‘yet’ (nao) alone. When I say such things, people may find them difficult to accept, but not to do so would do the Way a disservice, and thus, I must. The Right’s ‘The pine boughs are bent down to the ground’ (matsu ga e wa tsuchi ni tsuku made) is something which has been used in poetry since long ago, and so is somewhat commonplace [tsune no koto], but ‘such heights the pine’ (takasago no matsu) does not seem that bad [ito masanakuhaberuran]. The Left’s ‘young pines on the peak’ (mine no wakamatsu) should win.

Winter II: 6

Left (Tie).


kumo fukaki
mine no asake no
ika naran
maki no to shiramu
yuki no hikari ni
Deep within the clouds,
Morning to the peaks must come,
But how? I wonder,
With whitening round my cedar door,
Brightened by the snow…

A Servant Girl.




koromode samushi
ariake no
tsuki yori nokoru
mine no shirayuki
Gazing on,
How chill my sleeves;
The dawntime
Moon will linger less than
The snowfall on the peaks…



Both teams say they find the other’s poem moving.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s poem has ‘deep snow’ (yuki fukaki), ‘whitening round my cedar door’ (maki no to shiramu), and the Right has ‘the dawntime moon will linger less than’ (ariake no tsuki yori nokoru) – the conception and diction of both are splendid [kokoro kotoba tomo ni yoroshiku koso haberumere]. It seems to me that is exactly how winter mornings are. Thus, it is difficult to say which is better. This must be a good tie [yoki ji].

Winter I: 6

Left (Tie).


ko no ha no oto o
iro koso nakere
mine no matsukaze
Completely scattered
Are the leaves, but the sound
Lacking only the hue
As the wind blows through the pines on the peak.

A Servant Girl.




shigure yuku
matsu no midori wa
sora harete
arashi ni kumoru
mine no momijiba
Is drizzle falling
On the pines so green?
The skies are clear,
Clouded only by a storm
Of scarlet leaves from the peaks…



The Right have no criticisms to make of the Left’s poem. The Left state that they find the Right’s poem, ‘difficult to grasp’. In reply, the Right say, ‘It is conceived after a Chinese poem that “the wind in the pines is the sound of rain”.’

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s poem is excellent in both configuration and diction [sugata kotoba yoroshiku haberumere]. The Right’s ‘clouded only by a storm’ (arashi ni kumoru) sounds charming in conception [kokoro okashiku kikoyu] – even without drawing upon the Chinese model. In this round, too, there is no clear winner or loser and it must tie.

Winter I: 5



hakanashi ya
ukitaru kaze ni
izuchi ikuta no
mori no konoha zo
How fleeting!
The fickle wind
Beckons, but
Where does Ikuta’s
Sacred grove send its leaves?

Lord Suetsune.




mine no momiji ni
kokoro no iro mo
I cannot regret, that
Scarlet leaves from on the peak
Have laid a stain
Upon the hues within my heart
And scattered them all over!

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right find no fault with the Left’s poem. The Left wonder whether the use of ‘I cannot regret’ (oshimikane) implies that the poet feels nothing prior to that.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s final section is elegant [yū ni haberu], but although I have heard of many different types of wind, I have no recollection of any familiarity [kikinarete mo oboehaberane] with a ‘fickle wind’ (ukitaru kaze). While I feel the Right’s poem has no particular faults, the initial ‘I cannot regret’ (oshimikane) does not seem to fit will with what follows. The poems are alike and the round must tie.

Winter I: 1

Left (Tie).


shigure ni iro o
himanaku furu wa
ko no ha narikeri
From the unsettled skies
Drizzle with colour
The ever-falling
Leaves from the trees.





mine no murakumo
kaze yori furu wa
ko no ha narikeri
Drizzle done,
The peaks the clearing clouds
Now the winds are done, fallen are
The leaves from the trees.



Both teams state they find no particular faults with the other’s poem this round.

Shunzei’s judgement: Both poems are on the topic of ‘falling leaves’, and both ‘The ever-falling leaves from the trees’ (himanaku furu wa ko no ha) and ‘Now the winds are done, fallen are’ (kaze yori furu wa), in conception and diction, are charming [kokoro kotoba tomo no okashiku kikoyu]. They must tie.

Summer II: 28

Left (Win).


yūma yama
matsu no ha kaze ni
semi no naku ne mo
mine wataru nari
Upon Yūma Mountain
The wind passing o’er the pine needles:
Just so
Do the cicadas’ cries
Pass between the peaks.





miyamabe no
natsu kodachi
semi no koe tote
shigekaranu ka wa
In the mountains’ heart
Of deepest green
Are the trees in summer, yet
The cicadas’ songs
Surpass them in profusion.

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right state that, ‘the expression ha kaze is usually used in reference to birds.’ (Ha here used to mean ‘leaf’, was also the word for ‘wing’.) The Left query, ‘the use of tote,’ which is a particle not usually used in poetry. In addition, they say, ‘“Trees in summer” (natsu kodachi) is should only be used in poems on the topic of “Summer Greenery”.’

Shunzei states, ‘The expression “wind passing o’er the pine needles” (matsu no ha kaze) is not that common, however, it is certainly not the case that ha kaze can only be used in reference to birds. Are not “wind passing o’er the bamboo leaves” (take no ha kaze) or “wind passing o’er the silver grass fronds” (ogi no ha kaze) everyday expressions? However, would it not have been better to say “the wind, blowing ‘gainst the pines: just so” (matsu fuku kaze ni uchisoete)? The Right’s “trees in summer” (natsu kodachi) and “surpass them in profusion” are interesting but, still, “pass between the peaks” (mine wataru nari) and “Yūma Mountain” (yūma yama) are better, I think.’