Tag Archives: quails

Autumn I: 24

Left (Win).


tsuki zo sumu
sato wa makoto ni
uzura no toko o
harau aki kaze
Clear shines the moon, dwelling
O’er a house truly
Gone to ruin;
The quail’s bed
Brushed by autumn breezes…

Lord Sada’ie.


Sada’ie’s poem alludes obliquely to a famous poetic exchange from the Kokinshū, initiated by Ariwara no Narihira.



shigeki no to
yado nare ya
magaki no kure ni
uzura nakunari
Overgrown are these fields, and
Is that a deserted
By the fence at evening time
The quails are crying.



Both teams concur that there are no faults at all this round.

Shunzei agrees: ‘Both poems are on the theme of now deserted dwelling places and are equally beautiful in expression, with the Right’s work reminiscent of “Fushimi at evening time”, but this implies a broad vista, and is not “the fence at evening time” too narrow? The Left’s final section is better, and wins, I think.’

Autumn I: 23

Left (Win).


hitori nuru
ashi no maruya no
shimo tsuyu ni
toko o narabete
uzura nakunari
Sleeping singly
In a reed-roofed hut,
Dripped with dew,
Beside my bed
The quails are crying.

A Servant Girl.




akikaze ni
nabiku obana no
yūzuyu ya
uzura ga neya no
ame to chiruramu
In the autumn breeze
Flutter fronds of silvergrass,
Scattering dewdrops
On the quails’ roost –
How like rain…

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right state that the Left’s poem has no faults. The Left state that, ‘“On the quails’ roost – how like rain” (uzura ga neya no ame) suggests that this is what it actually is.’

Shunzei disagrees: ‘It is not the case that uzura ga neya no ame definitely implies that it is actually rain, particularly with the scene set by dew on silvergrass. However, “beside my bed” (toko o narabete) is particularly attractive in expression. It should win.’

Summer I: 9



natsukusa no
nojima ga saki no
asagiri o
wakete zo kitsuru
hagi no ha no suri
Summer grass grows high
On Nojima Point;
Through the morning mists
Have I come forging,
Robes patterned with bush-clover leaves.



Right (Win).


shigekino to
natsu mo nariyuku
fukakusa no
sato wa uzura no
bakari zo
Ever thicker grow the grasses and
With the summer’s passing, too,
At Fukakusa – deep within the greenery –
The quails
Let out not a cry – that’s all…



The Right have no criticisms to make of the Left’s poem. The Left, however, say, ‘Using “summer’s passing, too” (natsu mo) appears to suggest a foundation upon something definite. What is it, however?’ The Right reply, ‘As the source poem is “A quail I shall become and cry” (udura to narite nakiworan), the impression given is of Autumn. Thus, “summer’s passing, too”.’

Shunzei judges, ‘The Left’s poem has as its final line, “Robes patterned with bush-clover leaves” (hagi no ha no suri), and before it, where one would expect to find the reason why the poet is forging across Nojima Point, is only “summer grass” (natsukusa no). This is repetitive. The Right’s poem, though, commencing with “ever thicker grasses” (shigeki no) is particularly fine in terms of configuration [sugata yoroshiki ni nitari]. Thus, it is the winner, this round.’

SZS IV: 259

Composed as an Autumn poem, when he presented a hundred-poem sequence.


yuFu sareba
nobe no aki kaze
mi ni simite
udura naku nari
Fukakusa no sato
When the evening comes
The Autumn wing across the fields
Pierces my breast, and
I hear the quails crying
In this Fukakusa home.

Master of the Dowager Empress’ Household Office [Fujiwara no] Toshinari