Summer I: 22

Left (Win).


kagaribi no
kage dani araji
nochi no yo no
yami o mo shiranu
ukaibune kana
Not even the fishing fires’
Light will reach
The world to come
Darkness all unknowing are
The cormorant boats.

Lord Kanemune.




ikuse noboreba
arashi no yama no
Ōi River
Rapids running up are
The cormorant boats;
To the Mount of Storms
Does dawn return?



The Right state merely that, ‘The Left’s poem has nothing to apologise for,’ while the Left comment, ‘stating that “dawn” (ake) returns to a mountain to the west is illogical. Moreover, in the three lines “The cormorant boats; To the Mount of Storms Does dawn return?” (ukaibune arashi no yama no akewataruran) the meanings of each line are different and fail to follow on one from the other.’

Shunzei is in general agreement: ‘The gentlemen of the Right have already allowed that the Left’s poem has nothing to apologise for. The have also stated that it is not the case that night lightens from the west, but it is certainly the case that it is possible to see the dawn light growing upon the western mountains. However, the cormorant boats’ practice is normally to run down the rapids, and saying “rapids running up” (ikuse noboreba) suggests that this is happening after they have gone down. Dawn is then exceptionally late. In any case, the Right’s poem has a number of doubtful sections, while the Left’s is without error, as has already been stated. It must win.’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *