Summer I: 5

Left (Win).


wa ga yado no
niwa koso kuraku
nara no hiroha no
kage ya souran
My lodging’s
Garden much darker
Has become;
Have the broad-leaved oaks
Laid shadows down?

Lord Kanemune.




momiji yue
ueshi kozue no
iro ni wa aki o
omou nomi ka wa
For scarlet leaves
I planted trees – tops now
Pale green;
For the hues of autumn
Alone I hope no longer.



The Right state bluntly, ‘Using ‘darker’ (kuraku) in this poem is highly vulgar!’ But the Left snap back, ‘Composing with “darker” is completely commonplace.’ They have no comments to make about the Right’s poem.

Shunzei remarks, ‘The Left’s “garden much darker” (niwa koso kuraku) has nothing problematic about it. “Broad-leaved oaks” (nara no hiroha), although a commonplace expression, is undesirable here. The purport of the Right’s “for the hues of autumn” (iro ni wa aki o) seems rather contrived, yet one wonders if “scarlet leaves” (momiji yue) might not be concealed beneath the “broad-leaved oaks”! The Left’s poem, being more unaffected, wins.’

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