Tag Archives: suga

Saishō chūjō kuninobu no ie no uta’awase 14

Left (Win).

yo to tomo ni
tama tiru toko no
miseba ya Fito ni
yowa no kesiki wo
Together with the night
Gemlets scatter on my bed’s
Sedge-filled pillow;
Should I show her
This midnight sight?

The Master 大夫
[Minamoto no Toshiyori 源俊頼]


nami no yoru
iFane ni tateru
sonare matu
mata ne mo irade
koFi akasituru
The waves roll in
To the cliffs where stands
A hardy pine upon the rocks;
Once more sleepless
From love do I greet the dawn.

The Assistant Master 佐
[Fujiwara no Mototoshi 藤原基俊]

MYS IV: 679

A poem sent by the Elder Maiden of Nakatomi to Ōtomo, sukune Yakamochi.


ina ipaba
sipime ya wa ga se
suga no ne no
koitutu mo aramu
Should you tell me no,
Should I pointlessly implore you?
As the sedge-roots
In a tangle of passion
Will I ever love you!

The Elder Maiden of Nakatomi

MYS III: 299

A poem composed by Lord Ōtomo, Major Councillor.


okuyama no
suga no pa sinogi
puru yuki no
kenaba wosikemu
ame na puri so ne
Deep within the mountains
The sedge-stalks are weighed down with
Falling snow, but
Should it vanish, how I would regret it, so
Fall not, O rain!

Ōtomo no Yasumaro (?-714)

GSS XIV: 1024

When a man who had long visited a woman at the house of the Sugawara Minister, ceased coming for a while, and then came once more.


sugaFara ya
Fusimi no sato no
aresi yori
kayoFisi Fito no
ato mo taeniki
Sedge fields lie
Around the estate of Fushimi,
All long overgrown;
He who passed across them
Has left no tracks at all…


Love II: 21

Left (Win).


sugagomo no
mifu ni wa ware mo
au ureshisa ni
shiku mono zo naki
Beneath sedge woven blankets
Three layers thick
Have I slept, yet
To the joy of meeting you
Nothing can compare!

Lord Kanemune




aimiru yow azo
hito no kokoro no
shiramahoshisa ni
Long has our love been and
Now we meet, at last;
In the midst of this night
How great are her feelings –
That’s what I would know!



Left and Right both say their opponent’s poem expresses the truth of the matter.

Shunzei’s judgement: the Left’s poem, in addition to drawing upon earlier work, seems technically accomplished. The Right’s poem does express a form of truth, yet would one really wish to know so much? The Left wins.

Love II: 16

Left (Win).


tanomenu kane wa
nanafu sabishiki
tofu no sugagomo
Night has fallen,
Untrustworthy, the bell
Tolls – an absent vistor’s
Seven layers lie empty
Of ten layers of woven sedge blanket.

Lord Ari’ie.




kyō tote mo
uki ni tanomi wa
matsu tote yasuki
mono’omoi ka wa
I thought that today
My despair
To trust would change, yet
While waiting, calmness
Is farthest from my thoughts…



Left and Right both state: we find no faults.

Shunzei’s judgement: the Left, commencing with ‘night has fallen’ (fukenikeri) and continuing with ‘seven layers lie empty’ (nanafu sabishiki) is elegant [yū]. It should win.

Autumn II: 22

Left (Tie).


akekata ni
yo wa narinu to ya
sugawara ya
fushimi no tai ni
shigi zo tachikeru
Is it that dawn
Has come to break the night,
That from the sedge-lined
Fields of Fushimi
The snipe have started?

Lord Suetsune.




akenuru ka
shigi no hanegaki
neya sugite
sode ni tsuki moru
fukakusa no sato
Has dawn come?
The snipe’s wingbeats
Cross my bedchamber,
Sleeves lit by lonely moonlight
In the overgrown depths of Fukakusa…

Lord Takanobu.


The Right state, ‘There is no precedent for the addition of “fields” (tai) to “sedge-lined Fushimi” (sugawara ya fushimi). In addition, using ya at the end of both the second and third lines is grating on the ear.’ The Left merely remark, ‘“Fukakusa” is now, perhaps more commonly associated with quail.”

Shunzei’s judgement: ‘In regard to the Right’s poem, although one would really like there to be a precedent, and there are doubtless rice fields in “sedge-lined Fushimi”, I do still feel that “fields” here is a little outre, is it not? While the Left’s “sleeved lit by lonely moonlight” (sode ni tsuki moru) is superlative, I would prefer “quail” to be associated with “Fukakusa”. If snipe call for a place name, it is not Fukakusa, but Yamada, I would think. Both poems are excellent, but with faults, and for this reason the round ties.’