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Love X: 14

Left (Win)
我恋はあまのさかてを打ち返し思ときてや世をも恨みん

wa ga koi wa
ama no sakate o
uchikaeshi
omoi tokite ya
yo o mo uramin
My love:
With my diver girl’s hands raised to heaven
I cast back
Knowing of these pains of love
The world is all despair!

Lord Kanemune
1167

Right
衣手はしほたるれどもみるめをばかづかぬ海人となりにけるかな

koromode wa
shiotaruredomo
mirume o ba
kazukanu ama to
narinikeru kana
Though my sleeves
Are drenched, as
Unable to catch a glimpse of seaweed
Like a hapless diver-girl
Have I become.

Lord Tsune’ie
1168

The Right state: there are various possible interpretations for ama no sakate. In addition, is it appropriate to compose a poem from the diver-girl’s perspective? The Left state: there is nothing to mention in the Right’s poem.

In judgement: the Left’s ama no sakate is not a particularly good expression, but I see no fault in composing from the diver-girl’s perspective. In recent times, people have come up with alternate interpretations for the phrase, but I see no reason for them. This old fool long ago composed a poem in this way. So I wonder, should I criticise my own composition? There is evidence for this in the Tales of Ise, and other texts, too. However, in poetry competitions, ama no sakate fails to sound appropriate. The Right’s diver-girl with sleeves drenched by the tide and unable to harvest seaweed seems incapable. She cannot be a genuine diver-girl. The Left’s sakate is not that elegant, but the girl is genuine. It wins.

Love IX: 13

Left (Win)
主やたれ見ぬ世の色を写しをく筆のすさびにうかぶ面影

nushi ya tare
minu yo no iro o
utsushioku
fude no susabi ni
ukabu omokage
Who painted you?
Unseen in this present world, hues,
Reflected by
A comforting brush,
Bring her visage before me…

Lord Sada’ie
1105

Right
水茎の跡に堰きをく瀧津瀬をまことに落とすわが涙かな

mizukuki no
ato ni sekioku
taki tsu se o
makoto ni otosu
wa ga namida kana
Faint brush-strokes
Traces place a barrier, but
A cataract in torrents
Truly drops –
My tears…

Jakuren
1106

The Right state: the Left’s poem is rather casual about the person whom he loves. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults we can identify.

In judgement: the Gentlemen of the Right have stated that the Left seems somewhat blasé about the object of his affections, and this is certainly true. The Right’s poem, though, says that the poet is looking at a painting on something like a folding screen, where a waterfall is depicted, and he weeps in reality – this seems like he was simply moved by the painting. I feel that there is a stronger conception of love in seeing a painting and fondly recalling the face of one now long gone, than there is in being moved by the sight of a mountain stream.

Love VII: 15

Left.
最上河人の心の稲船もしばしばかりと聞かば頼まん

mogamigawa
hito no kokoro no
inabune mo
shibashi bakari to
kikaba tanoman
Upon Mogami River,
Her heart is as
A rice-boat;
That but for a little while
She will hear me, is all my longing.

Lord Ari’ie
989

Right (Win).
飛鳥川淵瀬ひまなき世の中に人のつらさぞ變らざりける

asukagawa
fuchi se himanaki
yo no naka ni
hito no tsurasa zo
kawarazarikeru
On Asuka River
The deeps and shallows have no rest;
In this world of ours,
Her cruelty
Is unchanging.

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office
990

The Right state: we have no criticisms to make of the Left’s poem. The Left state: we wonder about the Right’s use of ‘the deeps and shallows have no rest’ (fuchi se himanaki).

In judgement: ‘Mogami River’ appears to be technically accomplished, but the final section sounds excessive. The deeps and shallows of Asuka River, indeed, do change constantly. The final section, too, seems fine. Thus, the Right wins.

KYS VIII: 448

Composed gazing at the moon when there were baseless rumours about her.

如何にせむ歎の杜は茂けれど木の間の月の隱れなき世を

ika ni semu
nageki no mori Fa
sigekeredo
ko no ma no tuki no
kakurenaki yo wo
What am I to do?
The sacred groves of Nageki with grief
Grow lush, yet
Between the trees, from the moon
There is no hiding in this world.

The Daughter of Tachibana no Toshimune
橘俊宗女

Love VII: 6

Left (Tie).
足引の山路の秋になる袖はうつろふ人のあらしなりけり

ashihiki no
yamaji no aki ni
naru sode wa
utsurou hito no
arashi narikeri
Leg wearying
Mountain trails in autumn
Have my sleeves become,
For she fades from my life, as
A departing storm…

Lord Sada’ie.
971

Right.
この世には吉野の山の奧にだにありとはつらき人に知られじ

kono yo ni wa
yoshino no yama no
oku ni dani
ari to wa tsuraki
hito ni shirareji
Within this world, were I
In the Yoshino mountains’
Heart, even so
That cruel
One would know it not!

Jakuren.
972

The Right state: the Left’s poem does not refer to a specific mountain – we wonder whether this is acceptable? In addition, ‘in autumn have my sleeves’ (aki ni naru sode) and ‘she…as a storm’ (hito no arashi) is difficult to understand. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to indicate.

In judgement: in connection with the criticism made of the Left’s poem, I do not feel that it is always essential to refer to a specific mountain. The other matters are, indeed, difficult to understand. The underlying sense of the Right’s poem seems overly pretentious. It is reminiscent of the tales of Boyi and Shuqi, or of Jie Zhitui, and Mount Shouyang and Mount Mian. Really, it does put me in mind of the Four White-Headed Recluses of Mount Shang, where it says, ‘They emerged due to the plans of Zhang Liang, made for Huidi, who said, “Though I may lie down with the greybeards, enjoying Mount Shang myself, all, in the end, are people under Zhang Liang.”’ It is extremely difficult, in the end, to make these sentiments relevant to our own land. Thus, I find it inappropriate to accept the content of the Right’s poem. The Left’s poem has its faults, too, so cursorily, I make this round a tie.

Saigyō hōshi kashū 433

Composed at his hut in the mountains, after becoming a monk.

山里は庭の梢の音待ても世をすさみたる景色なるかな

yamazato wa
niwa no kozue no
oto matemo
yo o susamitaru
keshiki kana
In a mountain dwelling,
From the treetops in the grounds
I await a sound, yet
How awful I feel is the world
Laid before me…

Saigyō
西行