Summer I: 4



kage hitasu
mizu sae iro zo
yomo no kozue no
onaji wakaba ni
Steeped in shade
Even the water’s hue
Has turned to green:
All around, the treetops
Loft the same new leaves…

Lord Sada’ie.


Right (Win).


midori ni miyuru
izure ka hana no
kozue narikemu
All has
Turned to green on
Otowa mountain;
Which were the blossomed
Treetops, I wonder?

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right state, ‘The use of “steeped” (hitasu) is not at all laudable,’ to which the Left reply that it is ‘in the spirit of “shade-steeped southern mountain”’, referring to a line in a famous xinyuefu (新楽府; ‘new ballad’ – a Chinese poetic form), ‘Kunming Spring’ (昆明春). They then continue, ‘Why the particular reference to Otowa Mountain? In addition, doesn’t the poem seem redolent of a reversal of Lord [Minamoto no] Yorimasa’s “the cherries do appear in bloom” (sakura wa hana ni arawarenikeri)?’ The Right, rather tersely reply, ‘Such things are only to be expected.’

Shunzei acknowledges the Chinese model for the Left’s poem: ‘ “Shade-steeped southern mountain” appears in the Baishiwenji, yet in this poem it appears to give an inappropriate emphasis [on the water rather than the trees]. In the Right’s poem, Otowa Mountain could certainly be any mountain. As for the reference to Lord Yorimasa’s poem – this type of technique is becoming increasingly common nowadays. The Right should win.’

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