ato ni sekioku
taki tsu se o
makoto ni otosu
wa ga namida kana
Traces place a barrier, but
A cataract in torrents
Truly drops –
The Right state: the Left’s poem is rather casual about the person whom he loves. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults we can identify.
In judgement: the Gentlemen of the Right have stated that the Left seems somewhat blasé about the object of his affections, and this is certainly true. The Right’s poem, though, says that the poet is looking at a painting on something like a folding screen, where a waterfall is depicted, and he weeps in reality – this seems like he was simply moved by the painting. I feel that there is a stronger conception of love in seeing a painting and fondly recalling the face of one now long gone, than there is in being moved by the sight of a mountain stream.
The Right state: we have no criticisms to make of the Left’s poem. The Left state: we wonder about the Right’s use of ‘the deeps and shallows have no rest’ (fuchi se himanaki).
In judgement: ‘Mogami River’ appears to be technically accomplished, but the final section sounds excessive. The deeps and shallows of Asuka River, indeed, do change constantly. The final section, too, seems fine. Thus, the Right wins.
The Right state: the Left’s poem is clichéd. The Left state: the Right’s poem is that of Shigeyuki.
In judgement: the Left’s poem is clichéd, but in addition to this uses ‘goes on and on’ (tsuzukite), which is not something one should say. The Right’s poem is, indeed, overly close to Shigeyuki’s, so both Left and Right poem are deficient and lacking in any element allowing a win.
The Right state: the Left’s poem leaves a fearsome impression, does it not? The Left state: we find no fault with the Right’s poem.
In judgement: The Left’s ‘whale hunting’ (kujira toran) I remember occurring in the Man’yōshū, but among many of that collection’s oddly-styled poems. However, it does sound extremely fearsome. When Emperor Qin Shihuang sought Mount Penglai, although he said to ‘shoot’ (iyo) great fish, I have not heard that he went so far as to ‘hunt’ (tore) them. Generally speaking, poems should evoke delicacy and charm, and what purpose is served, for the way of poetry, or for the individual, by frightening people deliberately? The Right’s Iwamigata and ‘For my despite’ (mi no urami kana) recalls an official complaining over being passed over for promotion. However, I cannot accept the Left’s poem. Thus, the Right wins.