Tag Archives: Takanobu

Love X: 2

Left (Tie)
浪の上にうかれてすぐるたはれめも頼む人には頼まれぬかは

nami no ue ni
ukarete suguru
tawareme mo
tanomu hito ni wa
tanomarenu ka wa
Atop the waves, and
Carried along helplessly,
Is even a pleasure girl
To a loving man
Unable to respond?

Lord Kanemune
1143

Right
波の上に結ぶ契のはてよりも戀に沈まん身こそうかれめ

nami no ue ni
musubu chigiri no
hate yori mo
koi ni shizuman
mi koso ukareme
Atop the waves
Form bonds
So brief – but more
Drowned in love
Am I, suffering so helplessly!

Lord Takanobu
1144

Left and Right together state: we find no faults to mention.

In judgement: both poems are certainly focused on the topic, with ‘atop the waves’ (nami no ue) and ‘helplessly’ (ukareme). The round ties.

Love IX: 30

Left (Win)
忘れずは馴し袖もやこほこほるらむ寝ぬ夜の床の霜のさむしろ

wasurezu wa
nareshi sode mo ya
kōruramu
nenu yo no toko no
shimo no samushiro
If she should forget me not,
Would those oh so familiar sleeves, too,
Freeze solid?
In bed on a sleepless night
Frost forms on my chilly blankets…

Lord Sada’ie
1139

Right
分てこそ中より塵は積もりぬれ恋の病に沈むさ筵

wakete koso
naka yori chiri wa
tsumorinure
koi no yamai ni
shizumu samushiro
Split down
The middle, dust
Has piled up!
Sunk in the sickness
Of love upon this blanket!

Lord Takanobu
1140

Left and Right together state: we find no faults to mention.

In judgement: the conception of being lost in thought of another’s sleeves ‘in bed on a sleepless night frost forms on my chilly blankets’ (nenu yo no toko no shimo no samushiro) is certainly elegant. The scene in the Right’s poem, with the blanket divided in half, with one covered with dust, and the other where the speaker lies lovesick, is distasteful and I do not find it appealing, so thus, the Left wins.

Love IX: 24

Left (Win)
からあひの八入の衣色深くなどあながちにつらき心ぞ

kara’ai no
yashio no koromo
iro fukaku
nado anagachi ni
tsuraki kokoro zo
Deepest indigo
Dipped many times, my robe’s
Hue is dark, indeed;
Why, with such heartless
Cruelty am I treated…

Lord Suetsune
1127

Right
衣衣にうつりし色はあだなれど心ぞ深き忍ぶもぢずり

kinuginu ni
utsurishi iro wa
ada naredo
kokoro zo fukaki
shinobu mojizuri
My robe’s
Hues have shifted;
Faithless is she, yet
My heart’s depths
Are stained with fern-patterned longing…

Lord Takanobu
1128

The Right state: we wonder whether ‘deepest indigo dipped many times’ (kara’ai no yashio) should not be scarlet. How dark would the colour be then? In response: there is no possibility of interpreting this as scarlet. We have used deep indigo, so what is there to criticise in then using dark? The Left state: while we understand the conception of the poem, we feel the expression is somewhat lacking. ‘My heart’s depths are stained with secret longing’ (kokoro zo fukaki shinobu mojizuri) does not link well with the initial part of the poem.

In judgement: the Left’s initial ‘deepest indigo’ (kara’ai) certainly sounds elegant, and there is no reason to make it scarlet. I also see no reason to fault the use of dark, either. As for the Right, it does not sound as if ‘stained with fern-patterned longing’ (shinobu mojizuri) links with the remainder of the poem – from the beginning to ‘my heart’s depths’ (kokoro zo fukaki). The final ‘stained with fern-patterned longing’ seems to appear abruptly. Deepest indigo should win.

Love IX: 19

Left
戀衣いつか干るべき河社しるしも浪にいとゞしほれて

koigoromo
itsuka hirubeki
kawa yashiro
shirushi mo nami ni
itodo shiorete
My clothes of love,
When might they dry?
A river shrine
Has had no effect – the waves
Dampen them all the more…

Kenshō
1117

Right (Win)
いかで猶夜半の衣を返しても重ねしほどの夢をだに見ん

ikade nao
yowa no koromo o
kaeshitemo
kasaneshi hodo no
yume o dani min
What to do? Again
My night time garb
Inside out I turn –
As many layers
As dreams, if only I would see…

Takanobu
1118

The Right state: there are a number of different theories about the source poem ‘stems of bamboo wave freely the clothes I’d dry’ (shino ni orihae hosu koromo), so how should the allusion here be correctly understood? In response: this refers to a summer performance of sacred music and dance. In this, sprigs of sakaki are placed in clear water, and bamboo stems are hung from the shelf as offerings. This is the river shrine (kawa yashiro). It appears in the records about sacred music in summer. Standard sacred music is performed to pray to the gods. Thus, if one is made to bear the weight of something one has not done, the feeling is close to the conception of damp clothes, is it not? And this is associated with the clothes of lovers that will not dry. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.

In judgement:  the Left’s poem seems to be more about a ‘river shrine’ than ‘lovers’ clothing’ (koigoromo). While it is not entirely clear, the Left and Right’s criticism and response, are certainly unusual. There are two poems which are possible as sources for this, both of which appear in Tsurayuki’s Collection. These are: ‘At a river shrine / Stems of bamboo wave freely / The clothes I’d dry / How should I do so? / Seven days still damp…’  and:

行く水のうへにいはへる河社河浪高くあそぶなるかな

yuku mizu no
ue ni iwaeru
kawa yashiro
kawa nami takaku
asobunaru kana
The waters run, and
Above them in celebration is
A river shrine;
The river’s waves rise high,
Taking pleasure in their play!

This latter is a poem from a folding screen with pictures of each of the moons of the year, painted in the Tenryaku Era. Moreover, in a work by Lord Toshiyori, he says, ‘There is no one today who knows what a “river shrine” is. All we can do now is guess. So people say that it was a shrine on top of the water, where sacred music was performed in summer. The latter poem certainly does not seem to have this meaning. The former makes no mention of sacred music, and simply talks of clothing one has wanted to dry for a long time not drying.’ In addition, I have questioned a member of a household familiar with sacred music about this matter, and been told, ‘Where summer sacred music is concerned, there is a particular way of it. It is definitely absent from the records.’ Furthermore, Toshiyori played the double-reed flute. He would clearly have known all about sacred music, and around this time wrote, ‘first of all, there is no one who knows of this,’ and yet the Left’s response simply states, ‘it appears in the records about sacred music.’ This is something which requires greater proof. If the gentleman of the Left is able to provide some now, this would be a fine thing for the Way of Music! These, in brief, are my thoughts on this matter and, of course, the Left’s response.

First, it is a mistake to say that the river shrine is necessarily connected with summer sacred music. Summer sacred music is just what it sounds like: in summer, sacred music is performed, but not in any fixed way. However, here summer sacred music is done before a river shrine. Kawa yashiro shino ni is an old term for widely or ordinarily. It appears to have been used this way in the Collection of a Myriad Leaves. Orihaete has the same meaning. In the phrase ‘drying a robe / seven days undrying’ (hosu koromo / nanoka hizu) seven, or eight, days is simply a poetic convention for conveying that something was not dry after a long time. The ‘robe’ is not really a piece of clothing, but something which resembles it, and which is not dry. Ise said of the so-called Ryūmon Waterfall, ‘So why should the mountain’s princess rinse her cloth’ (nani yama hime no nuno sarasuramu) and also there are expressions such as ‘Nunohiki Falls’. Thus we have the Left’s argument for the summer sacred music platform, and then Lord Toshiyori’s writings; further, on the term shino ‘bamboo hung from the shelf as an offering to the gods’ and ‘clothing has the conception of damp clothing’. This is a remarkable way of interpreting the poem, indeed! The only way to settle the matter would be with the presentation of definite proof. So, this is certainly something which His Grace should request for review. In short, the Left’s poem, beginning with the idea that lovers’ clothing is to pray at a river shrine, and then saying ‘it has no effect’ (shirushi mo nami ni) seems like everlasting bitterness. The Right’s poem says ‘my night time garb inside out I turn’ (yowa no koromo o kaeshitemo), which is quite ordinary. In the absence of definite proof for the Left’s contentions, the Right must win.

Love IX: 14

Left (Win)
今さらにたれに心をうつうつすらむ我とすみ絵はかき絶えにけり

ima sara ni
tare ni kokoro o
utsusuramu
ware to sumi e wa
kakitaenikeri
Now, once again,
To whom will his heart
Shift? His reflection in
A drawing of ink, is all that’s left
Drawn, now he no longer lives with me…

Lord Ari’ie
1107

Right
跡もなく色になり行言の葉やすみ絵ををとむる木立成らん

ato mo naku
iro ni nariyuki
koto no ha ya
sumi e o tomuru
kodachi naruran
No lines remain,
All is turned to colour;
Will his leaves of words
Remain here at my home, as an ink
Sketch of a grove?

Lord Takanobu
1108

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults in particular. The Left state: why would you say that an ink drawing that remains ‘leaves no trace’? We would have preferred it had it been ‘colours most fair’ (iro masaru).

In judgement: both Left and Right have the conception of ‘ink drawings’ (sumie) and, when viewed together, I do not feel that they show much promise, but the Right, beginning with ‘no lines remain’ (ato mo naku) which I do not feel is in tune with the latter part of the poem, in addition, then concludes with ‘sketch of a grove’ (kodachi naruran) which is undesirable. The Left’s ‘a drawing of ink, is all that’s left’ (ware to sumi e wa) is a metaphorical expression which at least strives at charm. Thus, I must say that the Left is superior.

Love IX: 10

Left (Win)
あはれとて聞き知る人はなけれども恋しき琴の音こそ絶えせね

aware tote
kikishiru hito wa
nakeredomo
koishiki koto no
ne koso taesene
To be moved
By hearing is there
No one, yet
My beloved zither’s
Strains sound on and on…

Kenshō
1099

Right
なをざりにはかなくすさむ琴の音もまつには通ふ物とこそ聞け

naozari ni
hakanaku susamu
koto no ne mo
matsu ni wa kayou
mono to koso kike
Carelessly and
Wildly plucked
My zither’s strains
Blend with the pines
I had heard…

Lord Takanobu
1100

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to mention. The Left state: the Right’s poem is not bad.

In judgement: both Gentlemen’s ‘zithers’ (koto) appear to be equally elegant, and the Right has a fine final section. The Left seems pleasant in both the initial and latter sections. So, the Left wins.

Love IX: 6

Left (Win)
笛竹の聲のかぎりをつくしても猶憂きふしやよゝに殘らん

fuetake no
koe no kagiri o
tsukushitemo
nao ukifushi ya
yoyo ni nokoruran
My bamboo flute’s
Voice beyond its limits
Might I push, and yet
Still, would this sorrow
Remain – even to the world to come?

A Servant Girl
1091

Right
わが戀はまだ吹き馴れぬ横笛の音に立つれども逢かたもなし

wa ga koi wa
mada fukinarenu
yokobue no
ne ni tatsuredomo
au kata mo nashi
My love: like
An unpractised
Set of pipes
Gives out discordant sounds, yet
No chance is there to meet…

Lord Takanobu
1092

Left and Right together state: no faults.

In judgement: the Right’s pipes would seem to sound very youthful, indeed! As for the Left, although I feel I have heard such a conception before, because for the life of me I cannot recall where, the style seems tasteful. The Left wins.

Love VIII: 26

Left
さりともと待べき程の情かは人頼めなる蛛のふるまゐ

sari tomo to
matsubeki hodo no
nasake ka wa
hito tanomenaru
kumo no furumai
However faint, I thought,
Through all my waiting hours
Were his feelings,
He can be trusted,
Says the spider’s spinning!

Lord Ari’ie
1071

Right (Win)
はかなくぞさもあらましに待たれぬる頼めぬ宵の蜘蛛のふるまゐ

hakanaku zo
sa mo aramashi ni
matarenuru
tanomenu yoi no
kumo no furumai
Fleeting, but
So be it, then, I thought,
Awaiting;
How unreliable is this night’s
Spider’s spinning…

Lord Takanobu
1072

Left and Right together: both poems are about spiders, and have no faults to mention.

In judgement: both poems seem elegant in their reference to ‘spider’s spinning’ (kumo no furumai). However, the Left’s central section recalls ‘Men are not trees or stone – they have feelings’ – while this is elegant diction in Chinese composition, it does not seem so in our own poetry. The Right’s ‘so be it then, I thought’ (sa mo aramashi) is fine, but ‘unreliable is this night’ (tanomenu yoi) sounds as if the night is already over. Princess Sotōri, too, has ‘must surely come tonight’ (kubeki yoi nari), but then appears to have ‘a certain sign’ (kanete shirushi mo). Still, this is surely describing a situation where one once had doubts, but feel that tonight is reliable. The Right is slightly superior.

Love VIII: 21

Left (Win)
うらやまず臥す猪の床はやすくとも歎も形見寢ぬも契りを

urayamazu
fusu i no toko wa
yasukutomo
nageku mo katami
nenu mo chigiri o
I do not envy
The boar lounging in his bed:
He may be at ease, yet
Grief, too, is a memento;
Lying sleepless marks our bond…

Lord Sada’ie
1061

Right
いかにわれ臥す猪の床に身をかへて夢の程だに契結はん

ika ni ware
fusu i no toko ni
mi o kaete
yume no hodo dani
chigiri musuban
Somehow I
To a boar lounging in his bed
Would change myself, and
For just a brief dream’s length
Would form a bond with you…

Lord Takanobu
1062

The Gentlemen of the Right state: the initial line of the Left’s poem sounds poor. The sense of the ending, too, is difficult to grasp. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we wonder about the appropriateness of changing oneself into a bed.

In judgement:  both Left and Right refer to ‘a boar lounging in his bed’ (fusu i no toko), and it has been mentioned that the initial line of the Left’s poem sounds poor, and that its ending is difficult to grasp. There really are a number of unacceptable aspects to this poem, are there not, so I cannot add any further words to what has been said. The Right’s poem is not suggesting that one change oneself into a bed. It is saying that one should briefly become a boar, that one might dream briefly of love. How can one possibly see the dream of a boar lying asleep? It certainly seems inferior to ‘not envying a lounging boar’.

Love VIII: 7

Left
相思ふ中には枝も交しけり君が梢はいやおちにして

ai’omou
naka ni wa eda mo
kawashikeri
kimi ga kozue wa
iya’ochi ni shite
Joined in love
Branches meet and
Twine together, they say, yet
As the treetops, you fail to come
Again, and yet again.

Kenshō
1033

Right (Win)
人しれぬ心に君を楢柴のしばしもよそに思はずもがな

hito shirenu
kokoro ni kimi o
narashiba no
shibashi mo yoso ni
omowasu mogana
Unknown to all
My heart to you
Inclines among the oaks;
For just a while, as a stranger
I would you not think of me…

Lord Takanobu
1034

The Gentlemen of the Right state: ‘again, and yet again’ (iya’ochi) does not sound pleasant. The Gentlemen of the Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.

In judgement: the Left’s poem, having the conception of intertwined branches is pleasant, but ‘treetops at my house’ (yado no kozue) would be normal, so I wonder about ‘as the treetops, you fail to come’ (kimi ga kozue)? In the Right’s poem, although ‘among the oaks; for just a while’ (narashiba no shibashi) is commonplace, it is still more elegant than ‘again and yet again’.