Autumn III: 4

Left (Win).


iro kaenu
matsu no midori ni
hau tsuta wa
ono ga momiji o
yuzuru narikeri
The unchanging hue of
The pine tree’s green,
Entwined with ivy:
Its own scarlet leaves
It has surrendered…

Lord Kanemune.




iro kaenu
matsu no midori mo
kakareru tsuta ya
momiji shitsuran
The unchanging hue of
The pine tree’s green, too,
Has gone:
Has the festooning ivy
Turned scarlet?

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right wonder about the appropriateness of ‘green entwined’ (midori ni hau), adding that ‘entwined with ivy’ (hau tsuta) also sounds unpleasant [kikiyokarazu]. The Left simply say that the Right’s poem is plainly pedestrian [rei no tsune no koto nari], but have no other criticisms.
Shunzei’s judgement: Although both Left and Right begin with ‘unchanging hue’ (iro kaenu) and there is little to distinguish between them, the Left’s ‘its own scarlet leaves’ (ono ga momiji o) is charmingly poetic style [okashikarubeki yō no fūtei nari]. The Right’s ‘festooning ivy’ (kakareru tsuta) appears as if the poet cannot distinguish between the two plants, which is foolish [orokanarubeshi]. What is there to the criticism of ‘entwined with ivy’? Thus, the Left wins.

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