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Love VI: 9


koi wabite
kokoro sora naru
ukigumo ya
yukue mo shirazu
hate ha narubeki
Suffering with love
My heart is as the sky-bound
Drifting clouds:
In some unknown place
Is where it will end…

Lord Kanemune.

Right (Win).

koi shinuru
yowa no kemuri no
kumo to naraba
kimi ga yado ni ya
wakite shiguren
Should I die of love, and
Final smoke
Clouds become,
To your dwelling will I
Drift and descend?


The Right state: does the Left’s poem really expresses the love of drifting clouds? The Left state: the Right’s poem is more suited to the topic of ‘Love and Smoke’.

In judgement: with regard to the Left’s poem, Lady Sagami’s poem from the Eishō Imperial Palace Poetry Competition: ‘Before I know it/In my heart, sky-bound/is my love’ (itsu to naku/kokoro sora naru/wa ga koi ya) would be a good prior example, but this poem inserts ‘drifting clouds’ (ukigumo ya), which is illogical. As for the Right’s poem, ‘To your dwelling will I drift and descend?’ (kimi ga yado ni ya wakite shiguren) sounds fine. Thus, and for this reason, the Right wins.


Love III: 6

Left (Win).


sode no nami
mune no kemuri wa
tare mo miyo
kimi ga ukina no
tatsu zo kanashiki
The waves upon my sleeves, and
The smoke rising from my breast –
Let all see them!
But should you, my love, be called heartless,
That would make me sad…

A Servant Girl.




hito koso ima wa
shinobishi hodo no
kokorozuyosa o
My family and friends
Now I do
For when our love was hidden,
They were all so cold…



The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to indicate. The Left state: by prioritising the emotions of the relatives, the poem does not clearly express the conception of Love.

In judgement: the initial section of the Left’s poem sounds fine, but the final ‘would make me sad’ (kanashiki) is going too far. The Gentlemen of the Left have accurately described the faults of the Right’s poem, but beyond that there is nothing praiseworthy in the poem’s style, either. Thus I make the Left the winner.

Love I: 4

Left (Win).


nabikaji na
ama no moshiobi
kemuri wa sora ni
She has not so much as waved to me, yet
The fisher-folk salt fires
Have begun to kindle and
The smoke into the skies
Has yet to rise…

Lord Sada’ie.




ashi no ya no
hima moru ame no
shizuku koso
oto kikanu yori
sode wa nurekeri
Through a roof of reeds’
Chinks, drenching rain
Make no sound, yet
Soak my sleeves.

Lord Takanobu.


The Right state that it should be kuyuru in the Left’s poem – and that they are not accustomed to hearing kuyuri. The Left state that, ‘while the rain falling on a roof of reeds would make no sound, once it became drops dripping through, it would. In addition, while it “makes no sound”, how can it be love?’

Shunzei’s judgement: The gentlemen of the Right’s claim that the Left’s poem should be kuyuri is incorrect. This is simply a case of the same diction as in utsuru-utsuri, todomaru-todomari – I should not have to give more examples. In form the poems do have good and bad points [utazama zen’aku arubeki]. I have the feeling I have recently seen something similar to the Right’s metaphorical use of a roof of reeds. Or maybe it was not that recently. The Left’s ‘has yet to rise’ seems better. I shall make it the winner.

Winter II: 13



yamazato no
sabishisa omou
keburi yue
taedae tateru
mine no shiishiba
That mountain dwelling’s
Loneliness feeling,
The smoke,
Rising in sporadic strands:
The brushwood on the peak…

A Servant Girl.


Right (Win).


kusa no tozashi wa
majikaki yama no
mine no shiishiba
Sealed in winter
The blockading grasses are
Seared by frost, and
How much closer is the mountain
Peak’s brushwood.



Both teams say that the conceptions of the two poems resemble each other closely [kokoro hōfutsu].

Shuzei’s judgement: The Left, by starting, ‘That mountain dwelling’s loneliness feeling, the smoke’ (yamazato no sabishisa omou keburi yue) sounds as if it is the brushwood itself which has some sensitivity to the situation, and are rising up from time to time. I wonder about that. The Right’s evergreen groves ‘nearing the mountain’ (majikaki yama) is what should win.

Winter II: 2

Left (Win).


yadogoto ni
taenu asake no
kemuri sae
fuyu no keshiki wa
From every house
Unending is the breakfasts’
Smoke – and even that
Makes a winter scene
All the more lonely.

Lord Ari’ie.




asa madaki
arashi wa niwa o
yuki ni wa ato mo
tsukanu narikeri
Early in the morning
The storm wind, o’er my garden
Gusts, yet
Upon the fallen snow no trace
It leaves.

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right say the Left’s poem ‘isn’t bad’ [ashikarazu]. The Left say the Right’s poem is ‘commonplace’ [tsune no koto nari].

Shunzei’s judgement: Although the Left’s ‘unending is the breakfasts’ smoke – and even that’ (taenu asake no kemuri sae) is lacking in poetic qualities [utashina no naku wa haberedo], the gentlemen of the Right have judged it not to be bad. As for the Right, if a storm blows through a garden, even if there is no snow, surely there would be some trace of it, wouldn’t there? The Left should win.

Summer II: 15

Left (Tie).


kayaribi no
kemuri ibuseki
shizu no io ni
susukenu mono wa
yūgao no hana
Mosquito smudge fires’
Fumes fill the dreary
Peasant’s hut; but
Untouched by soot are
The moonflower blooms.

Lord Suetsune.


Right (Tie).


kemuri tatsu
shizu no iori ka
usugiri no
magaki ni sakeru
yūgao no hana
Is this smoke rising from
The peasants’ huts?
Faintly misted
Blooming on the rough-hewn fence
Are moonflowers…



The Right have no criticisms to make this round. The Left simply say the phrase ‘huts? Faintly misted’ (iori ka usugiri) ‘stands out’.

Again, Shunzei is blunt: ‘The Left’s “untouched by soot” (susukenu) and the Right’s “faintly misted” (usugiri) are both equally poor. The round should tie.’