Autumn II: 18

Left (Win).


yama tōki
kadota no sue wa
kiri harete
honami ni shizumu
ariake no tsuki
By the distant mountains,
At the farthest reach of fields before my gates,
The mists are clearing, and
Sinking amongst the waves of rice-ears is
The dawntime moon…

A Servant Girl.




honomeku kage mo
inaba no kaze wa
sode ni kayoite
The autumn evening moon’s
Faint light is
Moving, indeed;
The wind upon the rice-stalks
Passing o’er my sleeves…

Lord Takanobu.


The Right simply say that the Left’s poem is ‘good’. The Left have no criticisms of the Right’s poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘dawntime moon’ (ariake no tsuki) and the Right’s ‘early evening moon’ are both deeply moving; the Left, continuing with ‘at the farthest reach of fields before my gates, the mists are clearing’ (kadota no sue wa kiri harete) is particularly fine, I feel. ‘Sinking amongst the waves of rice-ears’ (honami ni shizumu) is certainly technically proficient, and yet lacks a certain profundity. And yet, the initial ‘By the distant mountains’ (yama tōki) show a true depth. It should win.

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