Tag Archives: whitecaps

MYS XVII: 3989

A poem composed when Senior Clerk Hata no Imiki presented a farewell banquet to Governor Ōtomo, Lord Yakamochi at the Yachishima residence.

奈呉の海の沖つ白波しくしくに思ほえむかも立ち別れなば

nago no umi no
oki tu siranami
sikusiku ni
omopoemu ka mo
tatiwakarenaba
At the sea of Nago
The whitecaps in the offing
So clearly
Would I remember
When I am gone from here…

Ōtomo no Yakamochi
大伴家持

Spring I: 18

Left (Tie).

木の間より日影や花をもらすらん松の岩根の水の白波

ko no ma yori
hikage ya hana o
morasuran
matsu no iwane no
mizu no shiranami
Between the trees,
The sunlight these blooms
Does seem to drench:
The pine-rooted crags’
White-capped waves of water.

A Servant Girl

35

Right (Tie).

春來れば氷をはらふ谷風の音にぞつゞく山川の水

haru kureba
kōri o harau
tanikaze no
oto ni zo tsuzuku
yamakawa no mizu
Spring is come, so
Sweeping ‘way the ice,
The wind through the valley
Brings a constant sound:
Water in the mountain streams.

Nobusada

36

Neither team have any comments to make about the other’s poem.

Shunzei comments that both poems sound ‘excellent’, but the Left’s begins ‘between the trees’ (ko no ma yori) and then continues to mention ‘pines’: are the ‘trees’ pines? Or, are they a different type? Whichever is the case, this is, perhaps, a ‘compositional error’. As for the Right’s poem, the expression, ‘sweeping ‘way the ice/The wind through the valley’ (kôri o harau/tanikaze no) is ‘charming’, but he ‘greatly dislikes’ the use of tsuzuku. (It’s unclear why he says this, as he gives no further explanation: the commentators suggest that it could be that the word is too conventional, or that it was generally considered more attractive in poetry to have something ending, rather than continuing, or simply that he didn’t like the way the poem was read out on this occasion!) Given that both poems are ‘equally excellent’ , and that the Left is ‘unclear’ over its trees, a tie has to be awarded.

Spring I: 17

Left.

山川の氷のくさびうちとけて石にくだくる水の白波

yamakawa no
kōri no kusabi
uchitokete
ishi ni kudakuru
mizu no shiranami
The mountain stream’s
Icy wedges
Are melting;
Broken on the rocks
In white-capped waves of water.

Lord Ari’ie

33

Right (Win).

春風に下ゆく浪の數見えて殘ともなき薄氷かな

harukaze ni
shita yuku nami no
kazu miete
nokoru tomonaki
usukōri kana
With the breath of spring,
Flowing beneath, waves
In numbers can be seen;
Hardly any remains – just
A coating of ice.

Ietaka

34

Neither team have any comments to make about the other’s poem.

Shunzei remarks that the opening of the Left’s poem seems ‘old-fashioned’ (and hence is cliched). The conclusion is splendid, but would have been improve by the substitution of ‘crags’ (iwa) for ‘rocks’ (ishi). The Right’s poem, in the spirit of clarifying the numbers of waves of water flowing under a thin sheet of ice, ‘seems exceptional’, and so the latter poem is ‘slightly superior.’

Spring 7

Left (Tie)

櫻花咲にし日よりよしの山空もひとつにかほる白雲

sakurabana
sakinishi hi yori
yoshino yama
sora mo hitotsu ni
kaoru shirakumo
The cherry blossom
Bloomed, and from that day
The mount of Yoshino and
The sky above were as one:
Fragrant clouds of white.

13

Right

霞立峰の櫻のあさぼらけくれなゐくゝる天の河浪

kasumitachi
mine no sakura no
asaborake
kurenai kukuru
ama no kawanami
Veiled in haze
Cherries on the peak
At dawning:
Slipping through scarlet are
The whitecaps on the River of Heaven.

14