Tag Archives: quail

Autumn I: 22



aware komoreru
nohara kana
kiri no magaki ni
uzura nakunari
In the early evening dusk
How melancholy is
The plain;
From beyond a fence of mist
The quails are crying.

Lord Ari’ie.




hagi ga magaki no
areyuku o
makoto no nobe to
nasu usura kana
My transplanted
Bush clover by the fence is
Disturbed and
Truly, ‘tis the plain
Again, with quails.



The Right state that ‘“Fence of mist” (kiri no magaki) is an unclear expression.’ The Left counter that they are ‘unaccustomed to the expression “bush clover by the fence” (hagi ga magaki).’

Shunzei states, ‘With regard to the respective criticisms of the gentlemen of the Left and Right, in this context “fence of mist” is a perfectly standard expression. “Bush clover by the fence”, too, needs no real explanation. In fact, the Left’s poem is straightforward, and the Right’s charming: melancholy in the mists, and the charming cries from beneath the bush clover – it is impossible to say which is the winner, and so the round must tie.

Autumn I: 21

Left (Win).


yūkaze no
mano no hagiwara
fuku mama ni
neya arenu to ya
uzura nakuran
As the evening breeze across
Mano’s bush clover meadow
Does blow,
Their roost disturbed, perhaps,
Quail burst into cry.

Lord Suetsune.




kaze no oto
hana no iro ni mo
uzura nakubeki
nobe no keshiki wa
The sound of wind, and
The grasses’ hues
Do tell it:
‘Tis fit that quails cry
Upon a scene of plains.

Lord Takanobu.


The Right have no criticisms to make of the Left’s poem. The Left simply remark that having both iro and keshiki (which use the character 色) is ‘a fault’.

Shunzei’s judgement is that, ‘the Left’s “does blow” (fuku mama ni), followed by “their roost disturbed, perhaps” (neya arenu to ya) is not a particularly expression. The Right’s, “do tell it” (shirukaritsu) is somewhat old-fashioned; I would not regard it as a fault, but I do regret it. Thus, the “roost” should win.’

Autumn I: 20

Left (Win).


fukikuru aki no
yūkaze ni
kokoro midare to
uzura naku nari
Across the sedge fields
Come blowing the autumn
Evening winds;
My heart’s in disarray,
The quails are crying…

Lord Kanemune.




aki kaze o
itoi ya suran
asaji ga shita ni
uzura naku nari
The autumn wind:
Do they dislike it, I wonder?
In the dark of evening
From beneath the sparse stalks of cogon grass
The quails are crying…

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right feel that, ‘Just having “my heart’s in disarray” (kokoro midare to) is lacking something.” The Left have no particular criticisms of the Right’s poem.

Shunzei responds, ‘The gentlemen of the Right have remarked upon the lack in the Left’s poem, wondering, no doubt, if this should be “feeling my heart’s in disarray” (kokoro midare tote). If one were to say that this is definitely the way the poem should have been composed, it would be something of a loss to the Way of Poetry, I feel. If we permit poets to say they are “moved” (aware nari), why not that their “heart’s in disarray”? The Right’s poem has a superlative final section, but one cannot know whether quails dislike the autumn wind or not. In Springtime, the warblers frolic in the mists; in Autumn, the insects cry from beneath the dewdrops – but each only at their allotted time, and from this one can tell the season. The quails’ cries make one feel the chill of the autumn wind. If one composes that they hid themselves from dislike of it, it restricts the imagination about quails too much. The Left wins.’

Autumn I: 19



taka no ko o
te ni mo suenedo
uzura naku
awazu no hara ni
kyō mo kurashitsu
A hawklet
On my arm have I not, yet
The quails are crying
On Awazu plain, as
The day turns dark.





aki to ieba
uzura naku nari
shika no ne o koso
hana ni makasure
Autumn is
The quails crying, while
From a field of fresh bush clover,
The stags’ call,
Summoned by the blossoms.



The Right state they have no particular criticisms of the Left this round. The Left, however, remark that, ‘“Quails” do not have such a general reputation. The use of “summoned by the blossoms” (hana ni makasure) is also dubious.’

Shunzei remarks, ‘The Left’s poem would seem to be in the spirit of the popular song “A Hawklet”, except that here the poet lacks the hawklet and “on Awazu plain, the day turns dark” (awazu no hara ni kyō mo kurashitsu). I can only think that he has spent the entire day there wondering about hunting quail! I also feel that the poem’s whole construction is rather commonplace. The Right’s poem is, indeed, poetic, and were there an exemplar poem for the blossoms summoning “the stags’ call” (shika no ne), I would make it the winner. In its absence, the round ties.’