Tag Archives: years

MYS XIX: 4159

Poems composed on the ninth day of the Third Month, at the end of spring, when on the way to the village of Furue to oversee the distribution of seed rice to the poor, and observing blossom by the roadside. Poems composed at places of interest and put together.

A poem composed on seeing a tree upon the crags when passing the point at Shibutani. The tree was a tsumama.

礒の上のつままを見れば根を延へて年深からし神さびにけり

iso no upe no
tumama wo mireba
ne wo papete
tosi pukakarasi
kamu sabinikeri
When upon the stony shore
A hardy evergreen I see,
Roots extending
The length of its years,
How venerable it is!

Ōtomo no Yakamochi
大伴家持

Love VIII: 25

Left
起きもゐで年ふる戀はをのづから常世の神やしるし見すべき

oki mo ide
toshi furu koi wa
onozukara
tokoyo no kami ya
shirushi misubeki
Unable to arise
From love these many years,
May I
By the eternal gods
Be shown a sign!

Kenshō
1069

Right (Win)
獨臥すながながし夜のかなしきを語らひあかすきりぎりす哉

hitori fusu
naganagashi yo no
kanashiki o
katarai akasu
kirigirisu kana
Lying alone,
So long, long the night’s
Sorrow;
Lightening it with chatter
Are the crickets!

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office
1070

The Gentlemen of the Right state: what is the meaning of ‘the eternal gods’ (toko no kami). In appeal, the Left: in the Chronicles of Japan, insects are worshipped under the name of ‘the eternal gods’ and made to seem like men. The Left state: what can an insect chatter about?

In judgement: in regard to the Left’s poem, while it is true that insects were worshipped, a poem on ‘Love and Insects’ with no insect is lacking something from the start. This poem would seem to be more a case of ‘Love and Prayers’. Thus, this is nothing enduring. A prior example has been contrived, but this is ineffective. It does not seem as if this insect’s nature has any relation to the topic. The Right’s poem has a commonplace cricket. Where is the fault in having it lighten one’s mood with chatter? Thus, the Right must win.

Love VII: 1

Left (Tie).
年を經て茂るなげきをこりもせでなど深からん物思ひの山

toshi o hete
shigeru nageki o
kori mo sede
nado fukakaran
mono’omoi no yama
The years go by and
My ever verdant grief
Is never felled;
Why am I so deep
In mountains of gloomy thought?

Kenshō.
961

Right.
君にわれ深く心を筑波山しげきなげきにこりはてぬ哉

kimi ni ware
fukaku kokoro o
tsukubayama
shigeki nageki ni
korihatenu kana
You for me
Had deep thoughts once –
All gone now, yet on Tsukuba Mountain
My ever verdant grief
Remains unfelled…

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office.
962

The Right state: we are not familiar with the expression ‘mountains of gloomy thought’ (mono’omoi no yama) used in the Left’s poem. The Left state: the Right’s poem has nothing significant to say.

In judgement: both poems use the wordplay of ‘ever verdant grief’ (shigeki nageki) and a ‘heart unfelled’ (korinu kokoro); they have no particular merits or faults. The round ties.

Love VI: 19

Left.
下とをる涙に袖も朽ちはてゝ着るかひもなき雨衣かな

shita tōru
namida ni sode mo
kuchihatete
kiru kai mo naki
amagoromo kana
Right through to below
With tears are even my sleeves
Quite rotted;
Putting it on would be pointless
This raincoat of mine!

Kenshō.
937

Right (Win).
戀ゆへに身を知る雨の年を經て心のうちにかき曇るらむ

koi yue ni
mi o shiru ame no
toshi o hete
kokoro no uchi ni
kakikumoruramu
For love
The rain knows how I feel full well
Down through the years
Within my heart
The clouds grow ever thicker…

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress Household Office.
938

The Right state: the Left’s ‘right through to below’ (shita tōruʼ) sounds as if the poet is passing below the palace! The Left state: in this poem it is not at all clear why it is that ‘the rain knows how I feel full well’ (mi o shiru ame).

In judgement: the Left, by using ‘right through to below’, has forgotten that ‘raincoat’ (amagoromo) evokes the sense of a salt-hut and, because there is nothing in the poem to suggest a location by the sea, amagoromo appears to be the clothing of a nun, or something similar. As for the Right’s ‘the rain knows how I feel full well’, it is simply ‘for love’. This seems plain to me. The Right wins.