Autumn III: 24

Left (Win).


shimo musubu
aki no sueba no
kaze ni wa tsuyu no
koboreshi mono o
Bound with frost
Are the leaf-tips of
The dwarf-bamboo grove, from where
The wind flung dewdrops

A Servant Girl.




tsuki mireba
shimo ni hikari o
aki no sueba no
ariake no sora
Looking at the moon,
Its light the frostfall
Has touched,
Autumn’s last leaf
From the dawning sky…

Lord Takanobu.


The Right state that, ‘If it were ‘dewdrops flung by the wind’ (tsuyu wa kaze ni koboreshi), the conception [kokoro] of the Left’s poem would be easier to understand.’ The Left respond that, ‘The meanings of both are identical. However, in the Right’s poem it is not clear what the ‘last leaf’ (sueba) is.’

Shunzei’s judgement: ‘The Right’s poem, in addition to the expression ‘autumn’s last leaf’ having no clear referent, shows a weakness of conception [kokoro sukunaku kikoyu] with ‘looking at the moon’ (tsuki mireba). The Left, progressing from, ‘bound with frost’ (shimo musubu) to ‘leaf tips’ (sueba) and then ‘dwarf-bamboo grove’ (ozasawara) sounds most fine [yoroshiku kikokyu]. Thus, the Left must win.

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