Tag Archives: yowa

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 IX: 3

Left (Win)
さらぬだに身にしむ夜はの笛の音を憂き人ゆへに聞き明かしつる

saranu dani
mi ni shimu yowa no
fue no ne o
ukibito yue ni
kiki akashitsuru
Even were I not so in love,
On a night that chills the soul
The strains of a flute
For that cruel one
Drift to me ‘til the dawn…

Lord Kanemune
1085

Right
我ゆへに思はぬ夜はの笛の音も藻に棲む虫と袖は濡れけり

ware yue ni
omowanu yowa no
fue no ne mo
mo ni sumu mushi to
sode wa nurekeri
For my sake
I did not think this night
The flute’s strains –
A shrimp among the seaweed –
Soak the sleeves.

Jakuren
1086

The Right state: the Left’s poem is overly lacking in thought. The Left state: no faults.

In judgement: the Left has ‘for that cruel one’ (ukibito yue ni) – does this mean perhaps that one is unable to sleep as a result of someone’s cruelty? The reference to ‘a shrimp among the seaweed’ (mo ni sumu mushi) in the Right’s latter section feels overly abrupt and sounds lacking in connection to anything else in the poem. ‘That cruel one’ sounds somewhat insufficient, but it certainly has no faults. Thus, the Left wins.

Love VIII: 16

Left
玉章のたえだえになるたぐひかな雲井に雁の見えみ見えずみ

tamazusa no
taedae ni naru
tagui kana
kumoi ni kari no
miemi miezumi
His jewelled missives
Have become intermittent
It seems, just like
The geese up in the skies,
Glimpsed, and then not seen at all…

Lord Ari’ie
1051

Right (Win)
思かぬる夜はの袂に風ふけて涙の河に千鳥鳴くなり

omoikanuru
yowa no tamoto ni
kaze fukete
namida no kawa ni
chidori nakunari
Unable to bear my love,
At midnight my sleeve is
Stirred by the wind, and
Upon a river of tears
The plovers are crying…

Nobusada
1052

The Gentlemen of the Right state: we find no faults to mention in the Left’s poem. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we wonder about the reason for emphasising ‘upon a river of tears the plovers’ (namida no kawa ni chidori).

In judgement: the Left on a lover’s letters becoming intermittent, and saying ‘the geese up in the skies, glimpsed, and then not seen at all’ (kumoi ni kari no miemi miezumi) has a charming conception, and elegant diction. The Right, saying ‘at midnight my sleeve is stirred by the wind’ (yowa no tamoto ni kaze fukete) and continuing ‘the plovers are crying’ (chidori nakunari) has a configuration and diction which sounds fine, too. The criticisms of the Gentlemen of the Left are nothing more than ‘a fisherman fishing beneath his pillow’! Although the conception of the Left’s poem is charming, the configuration of the Right’s poem is slightly more notable, so it should win.

Love VII: 30

Left (Win)
恋わたる夜はのさむしろ波かけてかくや待けん宇治の橋姫

koi wataru
yowa no samushiro
nami kakete
kaku ya machiken
uji no hashihime
Crossed in love
At night my mat of straw
Is washed by waves;
Is this how she waits,
The maid at Uji bridge.

A Servant Girl
1019

Right
いにしへの宇治の橋守身をつまば年経る恋を哀とも見よ

inishie no
uji no hashimori
mi o tsumaba
toshi furu koi o
aware tomo miyo
Ancient
Warden of Uji bridge,
If you pinch me,
How I have aged with love for you
Will you know, and pity me…

Jakuren
1020

Left and Right together state: we find no faults to mention.

In judgement: the style of both the Left’s ‘maid at Uji bridge’ (uji no hashihime) and the Right’s ‘Warden of Uji bridge’ (uji no hashimori) is pleasant, and the Left’s ‘Is this how she waits, the maid at Uji bridge’ (kaku ya machiken uji no hashihime) draws on the conception of a tale from long ago, and the configuration also seems deeply moving. Thus, the Left should win.

Saishō chūjō kuninobu no ie no uta’awase 14

Left (Win).
夜とともに玉散る床の菅枕見せばや人に夜半の景色を

yo to tomo ni
tama tiru toko no
sugamakura
miseba ya Fito ni
yowa no kesiki wo
Together with the night
Gemlets scatter on my bed’s
Sedge-filled pillow;
Should I show her
This midnight sight?

The Master 大夫
[Minamoto no Toshiyori 源俊頼]
27

Right.
波のよる岩根に立てる磯馴れ松また寝もいらで恋ひあかしつる

nami no yoru
iFane ni tateru
sonare matu
mata ne mo irade
koFi akasituru
The waves roll in
To the cliffs where stands
A hardy pine upon the rocks;
Once more sleepless
From love do I greet the dawn.

The Assistant Master 佐
[Fujiwara no Mototoshi 藤原基俊]
28

Love VI: 3

Left (Tie).
つれもなき人をもさそへ夜はの月影ばかりだによそに見るやと

tsure mo naki
hito o mo sasoe
yowa no tsuki
kage bakari dani
yoso ni miru ya to
That heartless
Man, will you invite
O midnight Moon!
Even just an image
In the distance would I wish to see…

Lord Suetsune.
905

Right.
秋の月妹が面影さそひきて我心にも宿すなりけり

aki no tsuki
imo ga omokage
sasoikite
wa ga kokoro ni mo
yadosu narikeri
The autumn moon
My darling’s face
Does bring to me, and
Within my heart
Has it found a place to stay.

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.
906

The Right state: if one is inviting someone to come and visit, then there is no reason to mention ‘just an image’ (kage bakari). We wonder whether the invitation is addressed to the sky? The Left state: the Right’s poem is pedestrian.

In judgement: both Left and Right have the same conception of an invitation addressed to the moon. The Round can only be a tie.

Love V: 20

Left (Win).
いかなれば程なき中の通ひ路も逢ひ見ぬ夜半は苦しかるらん

ika nareba
hodo naki naka no
kayoiji mo
aiminu yowa wa
kurushikaruran
Why is it that
We are so close in love
And distance, yet
Those nights we cannot meet
Are so painful still?

Lord Kanemune
879

Right.
思ひこそ遠き程だにしるべなれ手も通ひなん中の隔ては

omoi koso
tōki hodo dani
shirube nare
te mo kayoi nan
naka no hedate wa
Love’s flame
Across a distance far
Is a beacon; though
An outstretched hand
Is our only separation…

Lord Takanobu
880

As the previous round.

In judgement: the Right sounds as if the lovers are exceedingly close. The Left, that even when the distance separating you is not that great, it is still painful, is, indeed, the case. Thus, the Left wins.

 

Love IV: 27

Left.
來ぬ床は明る頼みもなき物をひまや白むと待ぞあやしき

konu toko wa
akuru tanomi mo
naki mono o
hima ya shiromu to
matsu zo ayashiki
An unvisited bed,
Of light has
No hope, but
Brightening through my bedroom door
Is what I am awaiting – how strange…

Lord Kanemune.
833

Right (Win).
頼めつゝ更けゆく夜半を歎きても鳥の音をやは待あかしつる

tanometsutsu
fukeyuku yowa o
nagekitemo
tori no ne o ya wa
matsu akashitsuru
Time and again he’d say he’d come, and
Through the deepening night
I’d grieve, but
Is it now for the first bird call
That I have awaited the dawn?

Lord Takanobu.
834

The Right state: ‘Unvisited bed’ (konu toko) sounds as if it is the bed doing the visiting. The Left state: we do not feel that the Right’s poem expresses its intended sense fully.

In judgement: I feel it sounds better to say that ‘through the deepening night’ (fukeyuku yowa) ‘is it now for the first bird call’ (tori no ne o ya wa) that one waits, rather than that one is in ‘an unvisited bed’ (konu toko) waiting for ‘brightening through my bedroom door’ (hima ya shiromu).