Spring I: 21



na ni tateru
oiso no mori no
shita kusa mo
toshi wakashi to ya
futaba naruran
By repute,
Ancient is the sacred grove of Oiso, yet
Here, too, the undergrowth,
Perhaps with the year’s youth,
Puts forth new leaves.

Lord Suetsune


Right (Win).


shimo okishi
kozo no kareha no
nokoru mase ni
sore tomo mienu
haru no waka kusa
Frost fell
Last year on the withered leaves
Remaining on this brushwood fence, yet
It does not seem so for
The fresh growth of spring.



The Right team have nothing to say about the Left’s poem in this round, while the Left merely wonder whether the fact that the Right’s poem has six syllables in its middle line means that it doesn’t scan correctly.

Shunzei comments testily that fashionably using expressions with contradictory connotations, such as the ‘ancient sacred grove’ and ‘year’s youth’ is ‘platitudinous’. The Right’s poem, however, is ‘without doubt, extremely affecting’. There are many cases where lines with six or seven syllables are used in place of a five syllable one in the centre of a poem – particularly when the final line is ‘independent’, although this has yet to be ‘well understood’. So, for appropriately using this, the right deserves the victory.

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