Being quiet in company with a bush warbler (鶯閑中友)
uguisu no koe o tomo nite kurasu kana hitori nagamuru haru no yamazato O, with a warbler’s Song To spend my days! Gazing out alone From a mountain hut in springtime…
yama ie wa naku uguisu no koe nomi zo nodokeki haru no tomo to kikoyuru In a dwelling in the mountains With nothing but a singing warbler’s Song! Peaceful, pleasant springtime Is in the very sound.
Fujiwara no Kunimoto, Ranked without Office
Round Ten: Insects’ songs from behind thickets of grass
tazunekuru kai mo aru kana kusamura ni ware matsumushi no koe zo kikoyuru Paying a visit here— Has some point, I think! Among the grassy thickets I pine crickets’ Song in my ears.
A Court Lady
matsumushi no koe mo taesenu kusamura wa tazunenu hito mo tazunekinikeri Pine crickets’ Songs I would have ever carry on Among the grassy thickets The one who has not called Has finally paid a visit!
A Court Lady
tanabata ni kokoro o kakuru koyoi sae akazu kikoyuru suzumushi no koe At Tanabata My heart I conceal— This night above all, I never tire of hearing The bell crickets’ song.
Insects Left (Tie)
aki kureba mushi mo ya mono o omouran koe mo oshimazu ne mo naku kana When the autumn comes, Do the insects, too, have gloomy Thoughts, I wonder? I’ll not regret their song at all As they cry on!
akigoto ni tokomezuranaru suzumushi no furite mo furinu koe zo kikoyuru Each and every autumn, Afresh The bell-crickets’ Aging in their aged Cries I hear.
kokoro mo shiranu
matsumushi no koe Never will I forget you –
Despairing of that vow
All unknowing of my feelings
Comes a bell cricket’s cry…
konu hito no
aki no keshiki ya
urami ni yowaru
matsumushi no koe He comes not, so
Is all seeming done, as autumn
Does wear on?
How I envy the weakening
Bell cricket’s song…
Left and Right: both poems are equally admirable.
In judgement: the Left’s poem, with ‘all unknowing of my feelings comes a bell cricket’s cry’ (
kokoro mo shiranu matsumushi no koe) is fine. The Right, with ‘is all seeming done, as autumn does wear on’ ( aki no keshiki ya fukenuran), is too, so both Left and Right do truly move the heart, do they not? I have no way of distinguishing superior from inferior here, so thus must make the round a tie.
naka koso arame
shita matsumushi no
koe o dani toe Cold will
Our bond, no doubt, become, but
Among the bush clover
Eagerly awaiting, the bell-cricket’s
Call is all that I would ask…
A Servant Girl
yo mo sugara
hito matsu mushi no
naku koe o
wa ga mi no ue ni
yosoete zo kiku All through the night
A cricket pines –
The song it sings
Upon myself does
Seem to dwell – or so it sounds…
The Gentlemen of the Right state: we have no reason to mention any faults in the Left’s poem. The Gentlemen of the Left state: the Right’s poem is pedestrian.
In judgement: both poems refer to ‘bell crickets’, with the Left saying, ‘our bond, no doubt, become’ (
naka koso arame), then ‘call is all that I would ask’ ( koe o dani toe), and ‘eagerly awaiting, the bell cricket’ ( shita matsumushi) – all of these are extremely difficult to grasp, however, the Right’s poem is pointlessly pedestrian. So, the Left wins.
ki naku pigurasi
pigoto ni kikedo
akanu kowe kamo With the twilight
Comes to call the evening cicadas;
With every day I hear them yet,
Never do I tire of their song…
tsune wa uzuki no
koe o kikaba ya Her heart is
Ever chill; O, for the Fourth Month
To tell me
With a gentle song!
mezurashiki kana Leg-wearying
The distant mountain pheasant’s
Even for his mate
A rare thing, indeed!
The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults. The Gentlemen of the Left state: the initial part of the Right’s poem has an antiquated feel.
In judgement: the Left’s ‘cuckoo’ (
hototogisu) and the Right’s ‘mountain pheasant’ ( yamadori) are of the same level.
kase no yama
kodati wo sigemi
ugupisu no kowe On Kase Mountain
The groves are so lush that
Unable to wait for morning
Comes the echo of
The warbler’s song!
Tanabe no Sakimaro Collection
koyoFi Fa tomare
asita no Fara ni
kaFeri ya senu O, cuckoo
Stay here this night, and
Down the hillside
With the morning to the plain
Will you not return?
wa ga yado ni
kowe na osimi so
kayoFu tisato no
yukiFate zo ko Fa At my home
I regret not your song,
For your thousand league
Journey’s end lies here.