Tag Archives: shizu

Love X: 29

Left (Win)

yoso nite mo
kimi o shi miwa no
ichi naraba
yukikau shizu ni
tachi mo okureji
Far away
At Miwa Market
Had I met you,
The peasants going back and forth
Would not be arriving late…

Lord Ari’ie


yo o furu michi wa
shiraru tomo
naniwa no ashi no
kari ni dani min
Life is hard, as it is
To make one’s way
I know, yet
At Naniwa the reeds
I reap for a brief glimpse of you…


The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to indicate. The Left state: the Right’s poem is not bad.

In judgement: the Left’s ‘at Miwa had I met you’ (kimi o shi miwa no) is elegant, but the final section is lacks force. The Right’s reaping reeds at Naniwa has only a faint sense of a merchant. Thus, the Left’s ‘Miwa Market’ (miwa no ichi) wins.

Love X: 20

Left (Win)

shizu mo tsumagi o
itsu yasumubeki
koi ni ka aruran
How I envy
The mountain man who kindling
Has gathered all together!
When, though, will I find respite
From love?

Lord Suetsune


kai mo nakereba
yamabito wa
awanu tsumagi ni
kori ya shinuran
Deeply serves no point, but
A mountain man
I am not – unable to meet her – kindling
Should I be cutting?

Lord Tsune’ie

Left and Right together state: we find no faults to indicate.

In judgement: although I wonder the extent to which the Left’s ‘how I envy’ (urayamashi) a mountain man resting is accurate, I also wonder whether this sort of back and forth upon the path is something which commonly appears, so the poem does not seem uninteresting. The Right’s ‘remembering deeply serves no point’ (omoi’izuru kai mo nakereba) does not sound particularly out of the ordinary. The Left wins somehow.

Love X: 19

Left (Win)

koiji ni wa
kaze ya wa sasou
asa yū ni
tani no shibabune
Along the path of love
Does the wind beckon me?
Morning and evening
Along the valley boats of brushwood
Go back and forth, yet…

A Servant Girl


mashiba koru
shizu ni mo aranu
mi naredomo
koi yue ware mo
nageki o zo tsumu
Cutting kindling as
A mountain man is not
My lot, yet
For love do I
Stack up my grief in logs!

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office

Left and Right together state: there is no reason to make any criticisms here.

In judgement: although ‘beckon’ (sasou) in the Left’s poem should be ‘send’ (okuru), it is certainly elegant how it evokes thoughts of Captain Cheng travelling along the valley. The Right, beginning with ‘kindling’ (mashiba) and then having ‘grief in logs’ (nageki) sounds a little too similar, I think. The Left should win.

Winter II: 15

Left (Win).


shizu no tsumaki ni
koto soite
kaze mo orikeru
mine no shiishiba
Hemmed in by winter,
Woodsmen make kindling,
Just as
The wind, too, does break
The brushwood on the peak.

Lord Ari’ie.




fuyu samumi
shii no mashiba o
yado ni wa kaze mo
In winter’s chill
Evergreen brushwood
I break to stop my door, yet
My dwelling the wind
Does naught to stop…

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right wonder about the use of ‘just as’ (koto soite). The Left merely state that the Right’s poem is ‘commonplace’ [tsune no koto nari].

Shunzei’s judgement: In the Left’s poem, should it not be ‘to the woodsmen’s kindling/add, will you?’ (shizu no tsumaki ni/soeyo to ya)? Using ‘just as’ (koto soite) does not seem a suitable expression in that it sounds somewhat pompous [yōyōshiku kikoyuru hodo]. As for the Right’s poem, ‘in winter’s chill’ (fuyu samumi) is an ordinary expression. ‘I break to stop my door, yet’ (orisasedo), too, lacks strong feeling. The final section of the Left’s poem, though, sounds pleasant [yoroshiku kokoyu]. It should win.

Winter II: 14



yamabito no
tayori naritomo
shii no koyade wa
orazu mo aranamu
For the mountain folk
Essential they may be, but
Upon the hillside
The brushwood branches
I would have them leave unbroken…





yama fukaku
shizu no oritaku
shiishiba no
oto sae samuki
asaborake kana
Deep within the mountains
Woodsmen break and burn
The brushwood;
That sound brings the chill
To me this dawning…



The Right wonder what the intention is in the Left’s poem of regretting the breakage of ‘brushwood branches’. The Left say that the Right’s poem, ‘recalls a famous poem by one of the other gentlemen of the Right.’

Shunzei’s judgement: Simply using the old-fashioned koyade in place of the more current shiishiba does not improve the sound of the poem, I think. Starting ‘Deep within the mountains’ (yama fukaku) and then continuing ‘Woodsmen break and burn’ (shizu no oritaku) – is this supposed to convey the conception of felling trees [shiba o koru kokoro ni ya]? I hardly think that if one lived in the mountains, the sound of trees being cut and burnt would make one feel the chill. The diction of ‘deep within the mountains’ does not seem appropriate [‘yama fukaku’ no kotoba, kanai mo sezaru]. Given that it does sound old-fashioned, koyade does not sound like a winner, either. The poems are of equal quality.

Autumn II: 16

Left (Tie).


akita moru
shizu ga iori ni
yado karan
satemo kono yo wa
suginubeki mi zo
The autumn paddies warding,
A peasant’s hut – there
Will I find lodging;
And thus, within this world
Will I be able to spend my time!

Lord Kanemune.


Right (Tie).


yamada no io mo
aki wa nao
kokoro no hate wa
Not deep at all within
The mountain paddies is this hut, yet
Autumn, still,
My heart, to the brim,
Does fill…



The Right complain that the Left’s poem ‘appears to be expressing somewhat outré sentiments’. The Left state on the other hand that the Right’s poem is ‘not bad’.

Shunzei’s judgement: the type of emotional import expressed in the Left’s poem is superlative. In The Tales of Ise, after all, there is the section on ‘gathering fallen ears of rice’ – most charming! To say that this is outré suggests a deficiency of understanding. The Right’s poem, too, conveys an emotional message. I must wonder about the use of ‘Not deep at all within’ (fukakaranu), but still, the round should tie.

Summer II: 18



shizu ga kakine mo
hikari kotonaru
yūgao no hana
Creeping from the matted growth
The peasant’s fence
Shines with the fair hues
Of a special light:
Moonflower blooms.

Lord Ari’ie.




tasogare ni
magaite sakeru
hana no na o
ochikata hito ya
towaba kotaemu
In the dusk
Entangled, blooming;
The flowers’ name
A distant stranger
Were I to ask, would he reply?

Lord Takanobu.


The Right wonder whether the expression ‘shine with fair hues’ (irowayu) is quite proper. The Left complain that ‘in the poem “distant stranger/will I raise my voice” there is no mention of moonflowers.

Shunzei states, ‘In the Left’s poem, it might be acceptable to talk of the “fence’s hue” (kakine no iro), but “shines with the fair hues” (irowaete)is undesirable. As for the Right’s poem, the response to the “distant stranger” in the original poem contains the phrase ‘when in Spring’ (haru sareba). It is certainly not a reference to moonflowers. In Genji, the Prince sees some white blossoms, and mentions the “distant strangers”; his bodyguard hears and understands, saying, “Those are called moonflowers,” and this is no mistake, however, to refer to Genji so obliquely is poor. It does the work a disservice. Still, with the Left’s “shines with fair hues” it is difficult to determine a winner. A tie it is!”