The Gentlemen of the Right state: we must say that the Left’s poem has no faults. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we wonder about the expression ‘frozen sins’ (kōreru tsumi).
Shunzei’s judgement: saying ‘torches of bamboo’ (take no tomoshibi) in order to refer to the ‘three worlds’ Buddhas’, is a somewhat unusual expression. The Right’s ‘my frozen sins do vanish into the skies’ (kōreru tsumi ya sora ni kiyuran) seems elegant [yū ni miehaberu], but refers only to the sins vanishing, and the conception of the Buddhas’ names seems somewhat lacking. Comparing the two poems, they must tie.
The Right state that the Left’s poem has no faults. The Left, on the other hand, say, ‘The Right’s poem seems to have very little of celebration about it. In addition, the expression “Above the heavens’ clouds, and above the clouds on earth” (kumo no ue yori kumo no ue ni) seems to have reversed the proper sense.’ (‘Above the clouds’ was a standard euphemism for the palace, and by association, the Emperor. Putting him in a secondary position here was perceived as a fault.)
Shunzei’s judgement: ‘“Above the heavens’ clouds, and above the clouds on earth” can be criticised, I think, for repeating the same phrase twice. And, what might one make of it having “reversed the proper sense”? The Left’s poem is faultless. The Right’s does, indeed, lack a conception of celebration, so the Left, again, win this round.’
The Right have no comments to make about the Left’s poem this round, while the Left simply say the Right’s poem has ‘major faults’. (Criticising the use of the completive marker nu twice in quick succession: kienu, fukenuran.)
Shunzei ignores this point, simply saying, ‘The expression “Has night fallen, I wonder, upon the sky wherein stars meet?” (yo ya fukenuran hoshiai no sora) is splendid, but there is no reason for beginning the poem with “deep dewfall” (tsuyu fukaki). The Lefts’ poem has no faults – thus, it must win.’