Winter II: 1



yamazato wa
asakawa wataru
koma no oto ni
seze no kōri no
hodo o shiru kana
Dwelling in the mountains,
Crossing the river in the morning,
The horses’ footfalls
Upon the ice within the shallows
Tells to me its depth…



Right (Win).


tanikawa no
kōru dani aru
yamazato ni
hito mo oto senu
kesa no shirayuki
The streamlet,
Even, has frozen
At my mountain home;
No folks’ footfalls
On this snow-white morning…



The Right have no criticisms to make of the Left’s poem. The Left just remark that the Right’s use of ‘even’ (dani aru) is ‘poor’ [yokarazu].

Shunzei’s judgement: Despite the Left starting their poem with ‘dwelling in the mountains’ (yamazato wa), even if it is on a winter morning, where must it take place? It must be at a riverside estate, or village. In addition, the only element of the conception of morning, is ‘crossing the river in the morning’ (asa kawa wataru). I do wonder about the sound of ‘even, has frozen’ (kōri dani aru), but the snow in the morning is more moving and charming [aware mo okashiku mo] than the Left’s mere sound of horses’ hooves on ice, so the Right’s is the better poem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *