Tag Archives: shirakumo

Love VI: 10

Left (Win).

toki no ma ni
kiete tanabiku
shirakumo no
shibashi mo hito ni
aimiteshi kana
In just a moment
They vanish, wisping:
The white clouds’
Brief span
O, that I could meet her for so long!

Lord Sada’ie.


kokoro mo sora ni
hikazu hete
kumo ni yado karu
mono’omoi kana
Wandering from my breast
My heart within the skies
Has passed the days
Taking lodging in clouds
The focus of my thoughts…

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress Household Office.

The Right state: we find no faults to mention in the Left’s poem. The Left state: the Right’s poem simply re-states a famous creation by another of the Gentlemen of the Right.

In judgement: ‘taking lodging in clouds’ (kumo ni yado karu) does, indeed, sound most like something I have heard recently. Perhaps it is simply that, having heard a good phrase, the gentleman has reused it. Whatever the facts of the matter, it lacks novelty. The Left’s ‘brief span’ (shibashi mo hito ni) should win.

SKS V: 164

Composed for the Poetry Competition held at the Residence of the Former Uji Grand Minister in Chōgen 8 [1035].


kimi ga yo Fa
sirakumo kakaru
tukubane no
mine no tuduki no
umi to naru made
My Lord’s reign:
White clouds cling
To the peak of Tsukuba;
Until those very heights
Shall sink into the sea!


Spring III: 5

Left (Win).


aki naraba
tsuki matsu koto no
sakura ni kurasu
haru no yamazato
Were it autumn,
Waiting for the moon is
Bitter, indeed, but
Amongst the cherry blossom do I live,
In my mountain hut in springtime.

A Servant Girl.




shirakumo no
yae tatsu yama no
hana o mite
kaeru ieji mo
hi wa harukanari
Clouds of white,
Lie eight-fold upon the mountains;
Gazing on the blossoms, being
Homeward bound at
Sundown seems a long, long way away…



The Right team have no particular criticisms of the Left’s poem this round. The Left, though, say ‘What are we to make of ‘Sundown seems a long, long way away’ (hi wa harukanari)?’ (Probably suggesting it’s an insufficiently poetic expression to use in a waka.)

Shunzei doesn’t address the Left’s criticism in his judgement, simply saying, ‘The Left’s final section starting “amongst the cherry blossom do I live” (sakura ni kurasu) sounds charming. It must win.’

SKKS XI: 1011

Sent to a woman with whom he had been exchanging letters, when he heard that a superior in the same office had been visiting her.


shirakumo no
mine nishimo nado
onaji mikasa no
yama no fumoto o
These clouds of white,
Why do they cluster ‘round the peak?
Coming and going
From the selfsame Mikasa
Mountain’s foot…

Fujiwara no Yoshitaka (954-974)