Autumn II: 5

Left (Win).


kohagi ga moto no
niwa no ame o
koyoi wa ogi no
ue ni kiku kana
Falling with the darkness
To the solitary bush-clover’s roots
The rain within my garden
Tonight, on the silver grass
I hear.

A Servant Girl.




ogiwara ya
nobe no aki kaze
sue wakete
sabishisa souru
murasame no koe
Silver grass meadows –
Across the fields the autumn wind
Brushes the fronds;
Adding loneliness to
The whisper of showers…

Lord Takanobu.


The Right say, ‘In the Left’s poem, it sounds as if the rain falls in daytime on “the solitary bush-clover’s roots” (kohagi ga moto) and at night “on the silver grass” (ogi no ue).’ The Left have no criticisms of the Right’s poem.

Shunzei judges, ‘I see no fault in saying that the “rain falling with the darkness” (furikurasu ame) is something one can see on the bush clover’s roots during the day, but only hear at night. As for the Right, “Across the fields the autumn wind brushes the fronds” (nobe no aki kaze sue wakete) is superb in construction. In the final line “whisper of showers” (murasame no koe) , though, “whisper” is an excessively direct personalisation, is it not? The spirit of the Left’s “on the silver grass” must win.”

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