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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 V: 29

Left (Tie).
象潟や妹戀ひしらにさ寢る夜の磯の寢覺に月傾きぬ

kisakata ya
koishirani
sanuru yo no
iso no nezame ni
tsuki katabukinu
In Kisakata and
In love;
I sleep the night away, and
Awaking on the rocky shore
Behold the moon descending.

Kenshō
897

Right.
清見潟岩敷く袖の浪の上に思ふもわびし君が面影

kiyomigata
iwa shiku sode no
nami no ue ni
omou mo wabishi
kimi ga omokage
At Kiyomigata
Sleeves spread atop the rocks,
Waves breaking atop them;
Heart filled with pain
At the memory of your face…

Jakuren
898

Left and Right both state that the opposing poem is pretentious.

In judgement: the Left’s poem seems well-constructed in its initial and final sections. However, as in Mototoshi’s poem long ago, ‘breaking a stem of miscanthus on the beach at Ise’, this seems to be a case of poetic allusion. The Right’s ‘Sleeves spread atop the rocks, waves breaking atop them’ (iwa shiku sode no nami no ue) seems to have been newly composed and seems elegant, but the final section is somewhat inferior. The Left has beginning and end matching. The Right has a superior initial section, but an inferior final one. Thus, the round ties.

 

Spring I: 16

Left (Tie).

春風に池の氷や解けぬらん待たれぬ浪の花を見る哉

haru kaze ni
ike no kôri ya
tokenuran
matarenu nami no
hana o miru kana
In the breath of spring
Will the ice upon the pond
Melt?
Unanticipated blossom touched
Waves come into view…

Lord Kanemune.

31

Right (Tie).

鶯のなみだのつらゝ聲ながらたよりにさそへ春の山水

uguisu no
namida no tsurara
koe nagara
tayori ni sasoe
haru no yama mizu
The bush warbler’s
Tears of ice,
And song,
Issue an invitation!
To the mountain waters this springtime…

Jakuren.

32

The Right team have no comments to make about the Left’s poem this round, but the Left wonder whether the essence of the poem, of the warbler’s ‘tears of ice’ and song inviting the waters, might not be a bit much?

Shunzei remarks that the form and phrasing of the Left’s poem is ‘certainly charming’, and echoes their criticism of the Right’s poem, as having an ‘impossible essence’. He then goes on to say, ‘The Left is placidly charming; the Right’s essence must be excessive. They are equivalent and I judge this round a tie.’