Spring I: 14

Left (Tie).


kōri i
shimizu no shiranami

harukaze shiruki
ike no omo kana
To the iced
Clear waters waves of white
Return again;
Spring’s breezes well know
This mere’s face.

Lord Sada’ie


Right (Tie).


suwa no umi no
kōri no ue no
kayoiji wa
kesa fuku kaze ni
ato taenikeri
At the Sea of Suwa
Upon the ice
The trackways,
With the breath of wind this morning
Have left no trace at all…

The Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right team state that the concluding line of the Left’s poem, ‘this mere’s face’ (ike no omo kana) is ‘weak’. The Left team reply that the first three lines of the Right’s poem are identical to those of a poem by Minamoto no Akinaka (1064-1138), in the Hundred Poem Sequence from the Reign of Former Emperor Horikawa (a sequence composed by a number of poets between 1104-07 and presented to Horikawa):


suFa no umi no
koFori no uFe no
kayoFidi Fa
kami no watarite
tokuru narikeri
At the Sea of Suwa
Upon the ice
The trackways,
With the passage of the God
Have melted.

and that this gave the poem its idea.

Shunzei comments that ‘waters waves of white/Return again’ is a ‘well-worn’ image with nothing special about it, and the Right team have already identified the weakness of the final line, and, of course, it ‘could not be as strong as a Deva King!’ As for the Right’s poem, he accepts the point made by the Left, but as it is not well-known that even in Hundred Poem sequences there are examples which are not ‘excellent work’, it is difficult to completely avoid composing poems with conceptions that resemble them. Thus, the round has to be a tie.

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