Tag Archives: arrowroot

Love III: 24


kimi ya uki
sora ya wa tsuraki
tomo sureba
aware ana u to
Is it your coldness,
Or the sky’s cruelty?
No, it is neither, that
Feeling the cold
Keeps me gazing at the heavens…

Lord Ari’ie

Right (Win).

kokoro no aki no
makuzu ga hara ni
kaze watarunari
Sunk in lonely thought
Am I this autumn
A field of arrowroot
Blown over by the wind…


The Right state: we find no faults to indicate in the Left’s poem. The Left state: the Right’s poem is commonplace, and the ending lacks force.

In judgement: although the Left’s poem reminds me of ‘Feeling the pain will I spend my time?’  (aware ana u to sugushitsuru kana), ‘the sky’s cruelty?’ (sora ya tsuraki) is also elegant []. However, the expression ‘cold’ (u) appears in both the initial and final sections of the poem. The Right’s ‘field of arrowroot blown over by the wind’ (makuzu ga hara ni kaze watarunari) is charming. I don’t belief the ending lacks force. Both poems are fine, but as the Left contains a fault, the Right wins.

Winter I: 17

Left (Win).


yume ka sa wa
nobe no chigusa no
omokage wa
honobono maneku
susuki bakari ya
Was it all a dream?
Across the fields a thousand blooms
Did meet my gaze; now
Dimly beckoning
Are there only fronds of miscanthus grass…

Lord Sada’ie.




taedae nobe ni
shita hau kuzu zo
The clumps of miscanthus grass
From time to time across the fields
Do wave, yet
The creeping arrowroot beneath
Holds all my regrets…



The Right state that the initial line of the Left’s poem is ‘awkward’ [amari nari], and that they cannot approve of the final use of ya. The Left wonder about the appropriateness of ‘Holds all my regrets’ (uramihatenuru).

Shunzei’s judgement: The Gentlemen of the Right have a number of criticisms of the Left’s poem. However, with careful consideration, while the poem is not tasteful in its entirety [subete yū ni shimo arazaredo], the initial line does not seem that strange, and the final ya is fine, is it not? The Right’s ‘The clumps of miscanthus grass from time to time across the fields do wave’ is tasteful [yū naru], but all that connects with ‘arrowroot’, is the subsequent ‘seeing what lies beneath’. ‘Arrowroot’ is too briefly in the poem for this. The initial and final sections of the Left’s poem have been criticised by the Gentlemen of the Right, but they are not without purpose. Thus, the Left wins.

Autumn I: 3

Left (Tie).


aki kaze no
fuki mo tsuyoranu
natsu no keshiki ni
nao kaeru kana
The autumn wind
Blows with such little strength that
The field of arrowroot
To its summer scene
Has yet returned.

Lord Ari’ie.


Right (Tie).


aki kitemo
mada hitoenaru
koromode ni
itowanu hodo no
kaze zo fukunaru
Autumn has come, and yet
For my still single-layered
There is no respite in
The breath of wind



The Right state, ‘The expression “little strength” (tsuyoranu) is particularly grating on the ear.’ The Left respond, ‘And what are we really to make of the expression, “no respite in the breath of wind” (itowanu hodo no kaze)? Even in “O, blow my cares away,/First breeze of Autumn!” (kokorosite Fuke aki no Fatukaze), one does not get a sense of dislike for the wind. Furthermore, the core sense of the poem seems inappropriately chilly for the topic.’

Shunzei’s judgement is that, ‘the criticisms of both teams have merit. The Left’s “little strength” is as stated. As for the spirit of the Right’s poem, does not “O, blow my cares away” (kokorosite Fuke) mean that the coolness brings no respite? While the spirit of “Lingering Heat” certainly contains the key sense that things have become slightly cooler, as I said in the last round. In any case, this round is a tie.’

Autumn 39



asana asana
aezu chirishiku
kuzu no ha no
okisou shimo no
aki zo sukunaki
Morning after morning
Never ceasing, scatter
Arrowroot leaves,
Burdened by frost:
There’s little left, of Autumn now.


Right (Win)


aki wa inu
yūhigakure no
mine no matsu
yomo no ko no ha no
nochi mo aimin
Autumn is now gone;
The evening sun concealing
Peaks, topped with pines,
About them, fallen leaves:
An aftermath we’ll watch together.



After Izumi Shikibu had been abandoned by Michisada, Akazome Emon heard that almost immediately Prince Atsumichi had begun to visit her, and sent her this:


shibashi shinoda no
mori o miyo
kaeri mo zo suru
kuzu no ura kaze
Turn not! And
For a while on Shinoda
Forest rest your gaze!
For it may return again:
The breeze ‘neath the arrowroot leaves.

Akazome Emon

SKKS XVI: 1565

On fondness for the past, carried on the wind.


kuzu no ha ni
urami ni kaeru
yume no yo o
wasure gatami no
nobe no aki kaze
The arrowroot leaves
Show their undersides–in despite I return
To a dream–the world of lovers–
So difficult to forget–
In the breeze across the fields.

The Daughter of Master of the Dowager Empress’ Household Office Toshinari