Tag Archives: thoughts

Love X: 15

Left
藻塩やく海人のまくかたならねども恋のそめきもいとなかりけり

moshio yaku
ama no makuka
tanaranedomo
koi no someki mo
ito nakarikeri
Burning seaweed for salt,
Scattering on the shore are the fisher-girls;
Not just so, but
From the tumult of love
Is there little respite.

Kenshō
1169

Right (Win)
思ひにはたぐひなるべき伊勢の海人も人を恨みぬ袖ぞ濡れける

omoi ni wa
taguinarubeki
ise no ama mo
hito o uraminu
sode zo nurekeru
In thoughts of love
Are we the same:
The diver girls at Ise,
Gazing at bay, with no sight of you
My sleeves are soaked.

Ietaka
1170

The Right state: there is a theory that ‘scattering on the shore’ (ama no makukata) is actually ‘waiting’ (matekata). How should this phrase be correctly be understood here? In response, the Left: the poem was composed from the standpoint that ‘scattering on the shore’ is correct. The Later Selection texts vary between ku and te, but ‘without surcease’ (itoma nami) is an appropriate expression for burning seaweed for salt. In both the Collection of a Myriad Leaves and the Tales of Ise there is the expression ‘ceaseless salt burning (shio yaku itoma nashi). In addition, there is the Ise Priestess Consort’s poem ‘Scattering on the shore, the fisher-girls rake seaweed’, where te would not be suitable. Izumi Shikibu’s poem:

伊勢の海の海人のあまたのまてかたにおりやとるらん浪の花なみ

ise no umi no
ama no amata no
matekata ni
ori ya toruran
nami no hananami
By the sea at Ise
Crowds of fisher-girls
A’waiting
To be plucked –
A row of blossoms on the waves.

is written with te, but ‘crowds of fisher-girls’ seems to suit the conception of burning seaweed. The Right still find fault: in the Muroyama Lay Priest’s Collection in a Tortoiseshell Mirror, Hideaki’s poem is written with mate. In addition, it evokes a scene of evaporation pools, and is there such an activity as scattering salt on the shore? In response: the salt kilns are on the shore. It is they which are scattered. People from the area have told me as much. In addition, mate could mean looking for razor clams (mategai) in the sand. And the girls would not be completely occupied doing this. In response, the Right: that is not the only possible meaning of mate. When the fisher-girls are busy with their work, and have no respite from it, one uses itoma nami. The Left have no criticisms to make of the Right’s poem.

In judgement: the Left’s poem, with the initial ama no makukata, followed by the final section ‘from the tumult of love is there little respite’ (koi no someki mo ito nakarikeri) fails to sound elegant. There should be no confusion over this issue. Lord Hide’aki’s poem in the Later Selection is plainly ‘a diver-girl does wait without surcease’ (ama no matekata itoma nami). On this matter, long ago when I was in attendance upon His Majesty, Emperor Sutoku, he presented me with the commentaries on problematic poems by a certain personage written as he remembered them, and His Majesty asked, ‘People say there are many errors in this text – is this true?’ to which I replied, ‘When it came to making things, there are errors in even those made by the wisest men of old. What you could call imperfect scholarship.’ In the midst of talking about this and that, I mentioned problems in the Later Selection, and that this matekata poem was written maku; I didn’t provide any commentary, just simply said, ‘This is matekata. The fact that there are texts which erroneously write maku have produced some doubt over this,’ and when people later heard that I had said this, his followers got confused and thought I meant maku was correct. ‘Without surcease’ (itoma nami) is particularly suitable for matekata. ‘Waiting’ (matekata) and ‘burning seaweed for salt’ (moshio yaku) are both things which fisher-girls do endlessly – there is no difference between them. Both the Collection of a Myriad Leaves and the Tales of Ise say ‘fisher-girls without surcease’ (ama no itoma nashi). Nowhere does it say ‘scattering’ (makukata). In addition, the shore where they burn seaweed for salt on the beach (hama ni shio yaku kata) bears no resemblance to scattering salt (shio o maku). Moreover, as for the Ise Virgin Consort’s poem, there are many texts which have mate, and any versions of both this anthology and of the Later Selection, too, which have maku are erroneous. There is also a poem in reply to the Consort’s poem ‘Scattered on the shore, / Raking, the fisher-girls gather / Sea-salt weed: / Where does the smoke / Rise to, I ask, my love?’ There are many who argue that this should be maku, but it simply means that the fisher-girls are busy. Matekata and itomanaki koto mean the same thing. In conclusion, we must have regard to the Later Selection poem. Hide’aki has left only a few poems, but was surrounded by poets of peerless talent. Whichever way one looks at it, he was not one to produce an erroneous poem. The Right’s poem has nothing special about it, but as the Left uses ‘from the tumult of love is there little respite’ which sounds old-fashioned and unpleasant, and there is no evidence that makukata is correct, the Right wins.

Love VIII: 27

Left (Win)
蟲の音も秋を限りと恨むなりたえぬ思やたぐひなるらん

mushi no ne mo
aki o kagiri to
uramu nari
taenu omoi ya
tagui naruran
The insects’ cries do
Mark the bounds of autumn
With despair;
Are endless thoughts of love
To be my only fellow?

Lord Kanemune
1073

Right
夏蟲もうら山しきは秋の夜の露にはもえぬ思ひなりけり

natsumushi mo
urayamashiki wa
aki no yo no
tsuyu ni wa moenu
omoi narikeri
The fireflies are
A source of envy,
On an autumn night
When dewfall damps down
The fires of my passion…

Ietaka
1074

The Gentlemen of the Right: the Left’s poem has no faults to mention. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we wonder about the appropriateness of ‘dewfall damps down’ (tsuyu ni wa moenu).

In judgement: the Left’s poem has been stated to be without fault by the gentlemen present. In the Right’s poem, I wonder if saying, ‘dewfall damps down’ is meaning nothing burns in autumn? On the matter of using the term ‘summer insects’ (natsumushi) to refer to fireflies, I do wonder whether it is appropriate to imply with one’s composition that there are no such insects in autumn. Although in the Collection of Poems to Sing Aloud, fireflies occur in the Summer section, among the same collection’s Chinese poems there is ‘in the dark before dawn innumerable fireflies start from the autumn grasses’. Furthermore, in Pan Anren’s ‘Rhapsody on Autumn Inspirations’ he says, ‘Glittering fireflies shine by the palace gate, and crickets sing from the eaves of the fence’. Even though there are countless cases of Autumn fireflies, how can one have composed suggesting that there are not? Thus, the Left wins.

Dairi no kiku awase 4

A chrysanthemum from Tonase in Ōi. Blended with silver, dropped from a waterfall. Although it falls from a great height, it makes no sound.
滝つ瀬はただ今日ばかり音なせそ菊一花に思ひもぞます

taki tu se Fa
tada keFu bakari
oto na se so
kiku Fitobana ni
omoFi mo zo masu
O, rushing waters of the cataract
Just on this day alone
Make no sound!
That a single chrysanthemum bloom
May completely fill my thoughts.

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