Tag Archives: sleet

Winter I: 24



utsu no yama
yū koekureba
mizore furi
sode hoshikanetsu
aware kono tabi
Gloomy in the Utsu Mountains,
Crossing them at dusk
In a fall of sleet;
I cannot dry my sleeves,
On this lonely journey.





kyō mo mata
katano no mino ni
mizore shite
kawaku ma mo naki
karigoromo kana
Today once more
On the royal hunting grounds at Katano
Sleet falls;
No time at all to dry
My hunter’s garb…

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right find no faults with the Left’s poem. The Left merely say that the Right’s poem sounds old-fashioned [furumekashi].

Shunzei’s judgement: ‘The Left’s ‘I cannot dry my sleeves, on this lonely journey’ (sode hoshikanetsu aware kono tabi) has a strong sound of loneliness about it [sabite wa kikoehaberu], but there is a lack of anything connected to utsu no yama in this poem. In The Tales of Ise where it says ‘By Utsu Mount in reality‘ (utsu no yamabe no utsutsu ni mo), it does not seem that sleet was falling. If there is no reason for including utsu no yama to express the sense of sleet falling, there are many other places which could have been used to express a lonely journey. As there is no reason for including it, formally [sama de] there is a lack of connection to it. The Right’s katano no mino, too, as in the poem ‘To lend lodging to keep me dry, is there no one‘ is about hail, though hawking does take place there, so the poem does sounds slightly charming [sukoshi okashiku kikoyu]. Both Left and Right use utsu no yama and katano no mino, respectively, unnecessarily – anywhere would have done as well. Both poems are equal for this reason.’

Winter I: 23

Left (Win)


tsumoru ka to
mietsuru yuki mo
mizore nite
fuyu no yamazato
Wondering at the fall
Of snow glimpsed as
It turns to sleet,
Gazing at the sight is sad, indeed,
Winterbound in my mountain home.

Lord Kanemune.




onaji sora yori
yuki fureba
shigure mo iro no
kawaru narikeri
Crowding clouds and when
From the self-same sky
Falls snow
The shower its very hue
Does change.



Neither the Left nor the Right find any fault with the other’s poems this round.

Shunzei’s judgement: Although the Left’s ‘wondering at the fall of snow glimpsed’ (tsumoru ka to mietsuru yuki mo) sounds as if a first fall of snow turns into sleet later, the latter part of the poem’s conception and diction are most fine [shimo no ku no kokoro kotoba koso yoroshiku haberumere]. The Right initially makes one wonder if it is snow falling, and then has ‘the shower its very hue’ (shigure mo iro no). Neither initially nor finally is there a mention of sleet. The Left’s ‘gazing at the sight is sad’ seems particularly good, too. Thus, the Left wins.

Winter I: 22



kono yama no
mine no murakumo
maki no ha tsutai
mizore furikonu
About this mountain
Peak, crowding clouds
Go scudding by;
The yew leaves tell the tale
Of fallen sleet.

Lord Sada’ie.


Right (Win).


yuki naraba
kakaramashi ya wa
sode mo shiotaruru
mizore furunari
Were it snow
Would it be like this?
Sweeping on
My sleeves are drenched
With the sleet that’s fallen!

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


Neither Left nor Right find any fault.

Shunzei’s judgement: ‘Peak, crowding clouds go scudding by’ (mine no murakumo fukimayoi) sounds fine [yoroshiku kikoyuru], but preceding it with ‘About this mountain’ (kono yama no) is something I find myself particularly unable to accept, as I wonder to which mountain the poem refers. ‘Would it be like this? Sweeping on’ (kakaramashi ya wa uchiharau) connects well with what comes before and after it and sounds tasteful, more or less [nani to naku yū ni kikoehaberu]. The Right must win.