Tag Archives: torches

Tametadake shodo hyakushu 235

篝火の見えぬ夜ぞなき大堰川おなじ鵜舟やおりのぼるらむ

kagaribi no
mienu yo zo naki
ōikawa
onaji ubune ya
orinoboruramu
Torches
Never go unseen at night
On the River Ōi:
Is it always the same cormorant boat
That plies back and forth?

Fujiwara no Tametada  (? – 1136)
藤原為忠

Winter II: 28

Left.

あまたたび竹の灯し火かゝげてぞ三世の佛の名をば唱る

amata tabi
take no tomoshibi
kakagete zo
miyo no hotoke no
na oba tonaeru
Many times
The torches of bamboo
Are flourished, and
The three worlds’ Buddhas’
Names proclaimed.

Lord Suetsune.

595

Right.

明やらぬ夜の間の雪は積もるとも氷れる罪や空に消らん

akeyaranu
yo no ma no yuki wa
tsumoru tomo
kōreru tsumi ya
sora ni kiyuran
There’s no light
Within this night of snowfall
Drifting, yet
My frozen sins
Do vanish into the skies…

Jakuren.

596

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.

Autumn I: 11

Left (Win).

星合の空の光となる物は雲井の庭に照らす灯し火

hoshiai no
sora no hikari to
naru mono wa
kumoi no niwa ni
terasu tomoshibi
The stars meeting in
The sky is lit
By
The Palace gardens’
Shining torches.

A Servant Girl.

321

Right.

七夕は雲の上より雲の上に心を分けて嬉しかるらん

tanabata wa
kumo no ue yori
kumo no ue ni
kokoro o wakete
ureshikaruran
At Tanabata
Above the heavens’ clouds, and
Above the clouds on earth
Between them is the heart divided
In joy, no doubt!

Nobusada.

322

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.’