Tag Archives: spindle tree

Love I: 5

Left (Win).


nishikigi ni
kakisoete koso
koto no ha mo
iro wa miyurame
Upon the spindle trees
He writes
His words, yet will those leaves
With the first shadings
Of passionate hues, she see…





omou yori
uki ni naretaru
tamoto kana
namida ya koi no
saki ni tatsuran
From these soft feelings
To heartbreak accustomed are
My sleeves!
Do tears always love
Precede, I wonder?



The Gentlemen of the Right state: while it is well known that spindle trees are an expression of love, it is certainly not the case that letters are attached to them. In response, the Left: in the writings of Nōin, he says, ‘A spindle tree is one to which the country folk attach letters.’ The Gentlemen of the Left state: the Right’s poem is irredeemably archaic [muge ni furumekashi]. In addition, ‘From these soft feelings to heartbreak accustomed’ (omou yori uki ni naretaru) is poorly linked, and the use of ‘precede’ (saki ni tatsu), in the absence of the mention of a path in the poem, lacks connection.

Shunzei’s judgement: the Left’s use of ‘spindle tree’ (nishikigi) is familiar from many Love poems and so seems quite tediously mundane [rei no koto]. The Right seems to have followed to some extent the conception of a poem by the former Nijō Lord’s serving woman, Chikuzen. I included it in the Senzaishū, and will note it down after this. As a result, the poem using the spindle tree must win. Note:


omou yori
itsu shika nururu
tamoto kana
namida zo koi no
shirube narikeru
From these soft feelings
How swiftly soaked are
My sleeves;
Tears, indeed, of love
Are such a sign!

The positioning of certain words does not differ to any great extent.