Tag Archives: seaweed

Love IX: 3

Left (Win)

saranu dani
mi ni shimu yowa no
fue no ne o
ukibito yue ni
kiki akashitsuru
Even were I not so in love,
On a night that chills the soul
The strains of a flute
For that cruel one
Drift to me ‘til the dawn…

Lord Kanemune


ware yue ni
omowanu yowa no
fue no ne mo
mo ni sumu mushi to
sode wa nurekeri
For my sake
I did not think this night
The flute’s strains –
A shrimp among the seaweed –
Soak the sleeves.


The Right state: the Left’s poem is overly lacking in thought. The Left state: no faults.

In judgement: the Left has ‘for that cruel one’ (ukibito yue ni) – does this mean perhaps that one is unable to sleep as a result of someone’s cruelty? The reference to ‘a shrimp among the seaweed’ (mo ni sumu mushi) in the Right’s latter section feels overly abrupt and sounds lacking in connection to anything else in the poem. ‘That cruel one’ sounds somewhat insufficient, but it certainly has no faults. Thus, the Left wins.

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.


Composed on the conception of Love, when he held a poetry contest at his residence while he was a Middle Captain.


wa ga koFi Fa
ama no karu mo ni
kaFaku toki naki
nami no sitagusa
My love is
As seaweed reaped by fisher-girls,
Ever tangled, and
Not a moment dry
Have the weeds beneath the waves…

Supernumerary Middle Councillor [Fujiwara no] Toshitada

SCSS XI: 562

When she was asked about the possibility of a meeting.


mirume karu
ama no yukikau
minatoji ni
nakoso no seki mo
ware wa suenu o
Gathering seaweed
The fisherfolk go back and forth
Along the harbour ways;
Come not to the barrier of Nakoso –
I have not placed it there, so…

Ono no Komachi

This poem is also Komachi-shū 小町集 (late. C9th) 5.

Love III: 21

Left (Win).

nami zo yoru
kitemo mirume wa
naki mono o
urami naretaru
shiga no satobito
The waves roll in,
Approaching yet, seaweed
Have I none
And accustomed to despair am I
Like one dwelling in Shiga…

A Servant Girl.


kimi yue ni
namida no kawa ni
miotsukushi tomo
narihatene to ya
For your sake
In a river of tears
I am afloat;
Though I am not a channel buoy,
Is that how I am to reach my end?

Lord Tsune’ie

The Right state: the Left’s initial line is unsatisfactory. The Left state: the Right’s central line is also unsatisfactory.

In judgement: it is not just that the Right’s central line is unsatisfactory. A channel buoy, planted in a river and rotting away is quite a commonplace occurrence. For something to be ‘afloat’ (yurasaru), you would need to refer to flotsam, either of wood or bamboo. The Left should win.

Love I: 22



imo ga shima
ara’iso ni yoru
uki miru no
uki o mo miru wa
minu ni masareri
At Imogashima’s
Rocky shore
Floats seaweed;
The sorrow on seeing her
Is better that the sorrow of not…





sawa no nezeri o
tsumite dani
kokoro no ato o
ikade nokosamu
I cannot feel more:
Dropwort from the marshes
Plucked – exhausted,
A trace of this love within my heart:
How might I recall it?



Neither Left nor Right finds any fault this round.

Shunzei’s judgement: The final section of the Left’s poem a kind of charming form [hitotsu no sugata nite okashiku haberu], but ‘rocky shore’ (ara’iso) sounds frightful [osoroshiku kikoehabere]. The Right’s ‘plucking dropwort’ (seri tsumu) is archaic, but not objectionable [furugoto nareba nadarakani wa haberubeki], but saying ‘a trace within my heart’ (kokoro no ato o) gives an extremely relaxed and vague feeling [itaku kasumeru kokochishite], and so it is difficult to say that either poem is better.