Tag Archives: roots

Koresada shinnō-ke uta’awase 20


murasaki no
ne sae irokoki
kusa nare ya
aki no kotogoto
nobe o somuramu
Do even the gromwell’s
Roots take on deeper hues
Among the grasses,
For in autumn every
Meadow does seem dyed?



aki no yo ni
hito o mimaku no
ama no kawara o
tachi mo narasu ka
On an autumn night
To see him is
All my longing, so
On the banks of Heaven’s river
Should I be wont to stand?


[1] A minor variant of this poem occurs in Mandaishū (1801) and Shokugoshūishū (688): 秋の夜に人をみまくのほしければ天の川原を立ちならすかな aki no yo ni / hito o mimaku no / hoshikereba / ama no kawara o / tachinarasu kana ‘On an autumn night / To see him is / All my longing, so / On the banks of Heaven’s river / Is where I ever stand!’ (Anonymous).

MYS XIX: 4159

Poems composed on the ninth day of the Third Month, at the end of spring, when on the way to the village of Furue to oversee the distribution of seed rice to the poor, and observing blossom by the roadside. Poems composed at places of interest and put together.

A poem composed on seeing a tree upon the crags when passing the point at Shibutani. The tree was a tsumama.


iso no upe no
tumama wo mireba
ne wo papete
tosi pukakarasi
kamu sabinikeri
When upon the stony shore
A hardy evergreen I see,
Roots extending
The length of its years,
How venerable it is!

Ōtomo no Yakamochi

Love VIII: 2

Left (Win)

ima wa sa wa
aware to omoe
suga no ne no
nagaki kokoro no
hodo wa mitsuran
Now, indeed, let you
Think fondly of me!
The grasses’ roots run
Long, my heart’s
Love will you see…

Lord Suetsune


yo to tomo ni
kawaku ma mo naki
wa ga sode ya
shioi mo wakanu
nami no shitagusa
With the passing time,
Not a moment dry
Are my sleeves;
Low tide does not reveal
The seaweed beneath the waves…

Lord Takanobu

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to indicate. The Left state: the Right’s poem is clichéd.

In judgement: the Right, in addition to being clichéd, can say no more than that love means wet sleeves. The Left’s ‘grasses’ roots’ (suga no ne) is certainly better.

Love VII: 12

Left (Win).

yosa no umi no
oki tsu shio kaze
ura ni fuke
matsunarikeri to
hito ni kikasen
By the sea at Yosa,
Tidewinds on the offing,
Blow across the bay!
That I am waiting without end,
Tell him!

A Servant Girl


nami kakuru
sashide no iso no
iwane matsu
ne ni arawarete
kawaku ma mo nashi
Waves beat
Upon the shore at Sashide, where
The pine trees on the crags
Roots are bared and
Never dry for but a moment.

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office

The Right state: the Left’s poem lacks any faults. The Left state: the Right’s poem is pedestrian.

In judgement: the configuration of the Left’s ‘Blow across the bay!’ (ura ni fuke) and its links with the preceding and subsequent lines, sounds charming. The Right’s poem is stylistically elegant, but the poem more closely resembles a poem on the topic of ‘Love and Pine Trees’. Thus, the Left wins.

MYS IV: 679

A poem sent by the Elder Maiden of Nakatomi to Ōtomo, sukune Yakamochi.


ina ipaba
sipime ya wa ga se
suga no ne no
koitutu mo aramu
Should you tell me no,
Should I pointlessly implore you?
As the sedge-roots
In a tangle of passion
Will I ever love you!

The Elder Maiden of Nakatomi

Spring I: 24

eft (Tie).


yuki kiyuru
kareno no shita no
kozo no kusaba ya
ne ni kaeruran
The snows are gone from off
The sere fields, and beneath,
Pale green:
Last year’s growth seems
To have returned to its roots…

A Servant Girl


Right (Tie).


harusame wa
kozo mishi nobe no
shirube ka wa
midori ni kaeru
ogi no yakehara
The gentle rains of spring:
To the fields I gazed upon last year
Do they show the way?
For greeness has returned,
To the burnt miscanthus grass…



Both teams state that the other’s poem was ‘in the same vein’.

Shunzei judges that the Left’s ‘Last year’s growth seems/To have returned to its roots’ and the Right’s ‘For greeness has returned,/To the burnt miscanthus grass’ are ‘pleasantly charming’, so neither poem can be adjudged the winner.