Tag Archives: tamoto

Love VIII: 16


tamazusa no
taedae ni naru
tagui kana
kumoi ni kari no
miemi miezumi
His jewelled missives
Have become intermittent
It seems, just like
The geese up in the skies,
Glimpsed, and then not seen at all…

Lord Ari’ie

Right (Win)

yowa no tamoto ni
kaze fukete
namida no kawa ni
chidori nakunari
Unable to bear my love,
At midnight my sleeve is
Stirred by the wind, and
Upon a river of tears
The plovers are crying…


The Gentlemen of the Right state: we find no faults to mention in the Left’s poem. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we wonder about the reason for emphasising ‘upon a river of tears the plovers’ (namida no kawa ni chidori).

In judgement: the Left on a lover’s letters becoming intermittent, and saying ‘the geese up in the skies, glimpsed, and then not seen at all’ (kumoi ni kari no miemi miezumi) has a charming conception, and elegant diction. The Right, saying ‘at midnight my sleeve is stirred by the wind’ (yowa no tamoto ni kaze fukete) and continuing ‘the plovers are crying’ (chidori nakunari) has a configuration and diction which sounds fine, too. The criticisms of the Gentlemen of the Left are nothing more than ‘a fisherman fishing beneath his pillow’! Although the conception of the Left’s poem is charming, the configuration of the Right’s poem is slightly more notable, so it should win.

SIS II: 81

When former emperor Reizei was Crown Prince, and ordered that a hundred poem sequence be presented.


Fana no iro ni
somesi tamoto no
koromo kaFe uki
keFu ni mo aru kana
The blossoms’ hue
Has dyed my sleeves,
So I do regret
The sorrow of changing clothes
On this day today…

Minamoto no Shigeyuki

Love III: 2

Left (Win).


tamoto wa hayaku
koi zo namida ni
Unable to dry
My sleeves have already
Rotted away;
Love, with tears
Is revealed.

Lord Kanemune.




omoi o ima wa
yoso no hitome to
nagekubakari zo
My hidden
Love is known, now, but
When I am forgotten
Others’ gazes will
Only cause me grief.



The Right state that the Left’s poem sounds ‘very hackneyed’ [ito, furumekashi], while the Left complain that they cannot hear the link between ‘when I am forgotten’ (wasuraren) and the subsequent material [tsuzukite mo kikoezu].

Shunzei’s judgement: While the Left’s poem may sound hackneyed, there is not a previous example which it resembles closely [sashite sono uta to wa kikoezu]. At the same time, it is extremely tasteful in form [utazama wa yū narubeshi]. Thus, the Left wins.

Love I: 17

Left (Win).


tani fukami
haruka ni hito o
kiku no tsuyu
furenu tamoto yo
nani shioruran
Deep within the valley,
Of her, a distant
Word; no dew from the chrysanthemum
Has touched my sleeves, so
Why are they so damp?

A Servant Girl.




kimi o nomi
kokoro zukushi ni
kiku no ike
ii’idenu yori
sode zo nurenuru
Only you do
Fill the whole of my heart;
Word of the waters of Kiku Pond,
A mere mention and
My sleeves are soaked….

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem is without fault. The Gentlemen of the Left state: while the Right’s ‘Kiku Pond’ (kiku no ike) does have something novel about it, ‘a mere mention’ (ii’idenu) is pedestrian.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘chrysanthemum valley’ (kiku no tani) and the Right’s ‘chrysanthemum pond’ (kiku no ike) both along the same lines and seem to sound charming [okashiku koso kikoehaberumeredomo]; still, ‘no dew from the chrysanthemum has touched my sleeves’ (kiku no tsuyu furenu tamoto yo) seems a little more elegant to me now.

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.