Later, on the second day of the Fifth Month, it appears that everyone, quite losing their composure, decorated their replies extravagantly and even painted pictures beneath them; later, on the seventh day of the same month, because His Majesty sent instructions to the ladies who had been present to compose love poems and attend him, on that day they attended him to present their poems.
hototogisu matsu ni tsukete mo sasagani no izure no yo ni ka shiru toki zo omou
A cuckoo I do await, and yet The tiny crab— On which night is it?— Will know the time, I hope!
shirushi arite konu yo mo are ya hototogisu nakanaka kakeshi kumo no furumai
Should there be a sign, Would there really be a night he failed to come, That cuckoo? Truly to be trusted was The spider’s spinning…
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.
The Right say, ‘“Set” (sadameoku) just does not sound very good.’ The Left: ‘ “Spiders” (sasagani no) seems to appear rather abruptly in the poem.’
Shunzei: ‘“Spiders’ webs” (sasagani no ito) would seem to be being used to evoke the playing of the zithers. Is “set” really all that bad in form? The Left’s “rhythms of autumn” (aki no shirabe) gets the victory.’