Tag Archives: smoke

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.’

Spring II: 11



musashino ni
kigisu mo tsuma mo ya
kyō no kemuri no
shita ni nakunari
Upon Musashi Plain
Is the cock pheasant’s hen, also,
For today from beneath
The smoke come plaintive cries…

A Servant Girl.


Right (Win).


tsuma koi no
kigisu nakunari
asa kasumi
harureba yagate
Longing for his hen
The pheasant calls;
When morning’s haze
Has cleared, how swiftly
He hides among the grass.

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right comment that the Left’s poem resembles Minamoto no Yorimasa’s poem:


kasumi wo ya
kemuri to mien
musasino ni
tuma mo komoreru
kigisu nakunari
The haze
Does seem as smoke;
On Musashino Plain
With his hen hidden
A pheasant calls.

The Left snap back that as Yorimasa’s poem is not included in the imperial anthologies, they could not have seen it, and in any case, what sort of criticism is it to say that it ‘resembles Yorimasa’s poem?’ As for the Right’s poem, ‘do pheasants always hide in the grass come the morning?’

Shunzei comments that it is ‘a bit much’ to avoid Yorimasa’s poem altogether. Although he does then go on to say that ‘there’s no reason to strong arm in examples’ of poems not in the imperial anthologies. However, ‘what’s the point’ of associating ‘today’ (kyō) so strongly with ‘smoke’ (kemuri)? (It was supposed to be used only for particular days, such as the first day of spring.) In the Right’s poem ‘When morning’s haze/Has cleared, how swiftly’ (asa kasumi/harureba yagate) ‘has nothing needing criticism about it’, so the their poem is superior this round.

Spring II: 10

Left (Tie).


kemuri tatsu
katayama kigisu
kokoro seyo
susono no hara ni
tsuma mo komoreri
Smoke is rising
From the mountain slopes, O Pheasant,
In the meadows on the mountain’s skirts,
Does your wife lie hidden…

Lord Ari’ie


Right (Tie).


yaki suteshi
kareno no ato ya
kemuri ni kaeru
kigisu naku nari
Left to burn,
All sign of the sere fields
Seems lost in haze;
Returning to the smoke
A pheasant calls…



The Right have no particular remarks to make about the Left’s poem this round, while the Left say that they understand the general import of the Right’s poem, but are ‘unable to grasp’ the sense of ‘Returning to the smoke’ (kemuri ni kaeru) (that is, why a pheasant would do it).

Shunzei merely adds that ‘the smoke in both poems prevents one from seeing very far’, so there is no clear winner and the round must be a tie.

Spring I: 20

Left (Tie).


nobe no kasumi o
keburi nite
kore ya wakakusa
Spreading, everywhere,
Across the plain, the haze
Seems smoke:
Is the burning the buds
Of new-grown grass…

Lord Kanemune


Right (Tie).


nobe no haru kusa
sue wakami
sora to tomo ni zo
asamidori naru
Shooting up
Across the plain, the grass’
Tips are so young
That, with the skies,
They celadon seem…

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


Both teams say there is ‘nothing remarkable’ about the other’s poem, while Shunzei says simply the purport of both is ‘generally appropriate’ and that it would be ‘difficult to determine’ a winner.

Love 51

Left (Tie).


nabikaji na
ama no moshiobi
keburi wa sora ni
kuyuriwabu tomo
It sways not:
The fisher-folk’s salt fires,
Fresh kindled
Smoke rises skywards,
Though passion smoulders here.




shirareji na
chishio no ko no ha
kogaru tomo
shigururu kumo ni
iro shi mieneba
She knows it not!
Deeply dyed the leaves
May pine, yet
‘Neath the drizzling clouds
Their hues are lost to sight.