Both teams proclaim themselves moved by the other’s poem.
Shunzei, however, has this to say. ‘The Left’s poem contains “purposeless, the branches, shudder in the winds of spring” (munashiki eda ni harukaze zo fuku), and despite the fact that poems on Mount Yoshino have a somewhat old-fashioned air, and that one might wonder on which peaks it is such clouds of blossom remain, even these moss-covered sleeves have become thoroughly soaked with tears at the thought that the Way of poetry has not reached its end; the Right’s poem has “The numbered days of Spring, revealed by the dawntime moon” (haru no hikazu wa ariake no tsuki), and this has moved even this old heart to thoughts of such a dawning sky, so it is impossible to distinguish between the two in quality. Of old, Spring poems had style, indeed, and to think that such form and spirit still combine to torment the soul is something for which I am thoroughly grateful. Truly, these moss-covered sleeves have been drenched by both Left and Right!’
Both teams find no particular faults with the other’s poems.
Shunzei, however, comments, ‘Both poems are excellent in appearance, but the Left has ‘The sky is disarrayed’ (sora ni midaruru). The Right is ‘Fresh willow fronds as one’ (aoyanagi no eda mo hitotsu ni asobu): does this not suggest that haze wavers only in the vicinity of willows? The Left must win.’
Neither team have any comments to make about the other’s poem.
Shunzei remarks that the opening of the Left’s poem seems ‘old-fashioned’ (and hence is cliched). The conclusion is splendid, but would have been improve by the substitution of ‘crags’ (iwa) for ‘rocks’ (ishi). The Right’s poem, in the spirit of clarifying the numbers of waves of water flowing under a thin sheet of ice, ‘seems exceptional’, and so the latter poem is ‘slightly superior.’
The Right team state that the concluding line of the Left’s poem, ‘this mere’s face’ (ike no omo kana) is ‘weak’. The Left team reply that the first three lines of the Right’s poem are identical to those of a poem by Minamoto no Akinaka (1064-1138), in the Hundred Poem Sequence from the Reign of Former Emperor Horikawa (a sequence composed by a number of poets between 1104-07 and presented to Horikawa):
suFa no umi no
koFori no uFe no
kami no watarite
At the Sea of Suwa
Upon the ice
With the passage of the God
and that this gave the poem its idea.
Shunzei comments that ‘waters waves of white/Return again’ is a ‘well-worn’ image with nothing special about it, and the Right team have already identified the weakness of the final line, and, of course, it ‘could not be as strong as a Deva King!’ As for the Right’s poem, he accepts the point made by the Left, but as it is not well-known that even in Hundred Poem sequences there are examples which are not ‘excellent work’, it is difficult to completely avoid composing poems with conceptions that resemble them. Thus, the round has to be a tie.