Tag Archives: stag

Winter I: 16

Left (Win).


shimo karuru
nohara ni aki no
kokoro no uchi ni
shika zo nakinuru
Burnt by frost
The fields autumn
Bring back to me, and
Within my heart
A stag cries out.

Lord Suetsune.




shika no oto mo
mushi mo samasama
koe taete
miyagino no hara
The sound of stags and
All the insects varied
Cries are gone;
Completely burned by frost is
The plain of Miyagino.



The Right say that the Left’s poem is ‘fine, perhaps’ [yoroshiki ka]. The Left reply that the Right’s ‘lacks any faults.’

Shunzei’s judgement: Both poems are on the topic of ‘withered fields’ and the Right has a fine final section with ‘the plain of Miyagino’ (miyagino no hara), but the initial section with ‘stags’ and ‘insects’ sounds as if the poet is enumerating members of list [kazoetatetaru yō ni ya kikoyu]. The Left, with its ‘The fields autumn bring back to me’ (nohara ni aki no shinobarete), followed by ‘Within my heart a stag cries out’ (kokoro no uchi ni shika zo nakinuru), is most fine. The Left should win.

Autumn III: 27

Left (Tie).


aki kurenu to wa
saoshika no
oto sede hito ni
Unable to bear
The end of autumn
The stag
Falls silent, and to man
The end relates…





asu yori ya
ogi no ha aezu
aki o ba yume to
From tomorrow
The fronds of silver-grass, unbearably,
Will be frost-burned;
That Autumn is but a dream
Will be clear to all.

The Provisional Master of the Empress Household Office.

Neither Left nor Right have any criticisms to make this round.

Shunzei’s judgement: Neither team has identified any faults with the other’s poem this round. However, the Left’s ‘The stag falls silent, and to man the end relates’ (oto sede hito ni tsuguru) is unclear, isn’t it? [obotsukanaku ya] The Right’s ‘fronds of silver-grass, unbearably’ (ogi no ha aezu) is also impossible to understand [ekokoroehaberanu]. Thus, the round must tie.

Autumn II: 7

Left (Win).


aki wa nao
kiri no nabiki ni
shika nakite
hana mo tsuyukeki
yū narikeri
It truly is autumn –
Through the fluttering mist
Comes the belling of a stag, and
The blooms, too, are dew-drenched
At even time…

Lord Kanemune.




aware o ba
ika ni seyo tote
iriai no
koe uchi souru
shika no ne naran
More sad
Than this there’s nothing!
The evening bell
Tolling, accompanied by
The belling of a stag.

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right wonder, ‘In the expression “the blooms, too”, what does the “too” (mo) connect with? In addition, simply finishing the poem “At even time” (yū narikeri) shows a lack of conception.’ The Left counter that, ‘In the Right’s poem, expressions such as “more sad” (aware o ba) and “the belling of a stag” (shika no ne naran) are feeble. In addition, what of having iriai (“evening [bell]”), without explicitly including “bell” (kane)?’

Shunzei’s judgement: While I do wonder about the expression, ‘at even time’, with the inclusion of ‘too’ in the phrase ‘the blooms, too’, there is the impression of unspoken emotional overtones to the poem. The configuration of the first phrase, too, is particularly tasteful. As for the Right’s poem, it is not the case that iriai must always be accompanied by kane (‘bell’) – one can hear the bell in the phrase. However, overall, the Left’s poem gives a stronger impression, and so wins.


When in Tango province, composed on hearing a stag call in the night after [her husband, Fujiwara no] Yasumasa had said he was going hunting the following day.


kotowari ya
ikade ka sika no
koyoFi bakari no
inoti to omoFeba
It seems natural.
Why should the stag
Not cry?
For this night is all
His life, he knows.

Izumi Shikibu