Tag Archives: Autumn Frosts

Autumn III: 24

Left (Win).


shimo musubu
aki no sueba no
kaze ni wa tsuyu no
koboreshi mono o
Bound with frost
Are the leaf-tips of
The dwarf-bamboo grove, from where
The wind flung dewdrops

A Servant Girl.




tsuki mireba
shimo ni hikari o
aki no sueba no
ariake no sora
Looking at the moon,
Its light the frostfall
Has touched,
Autumn’s last leaf
From the dawning sky…

Lord Takanobu.


The Right state that, ‘If it were ‘dewdrops flung by the wind’ (tsuyu wa kaze ni koboreshi), the conception [kokoro] of the Left’s poem would be easier to understand.’ The Left respond that, ‘The meanings of both are identical. However, in the Right’s poem it is not clear what the ‘last leaf’ (sueba) is.’

Shunzei’s judgement: ‘The Right’s poem, in addition to the expression ‘autumn’s last leaf’ having no clear referent, shows a weakness of conception [kokoro sukunaku kikoyu] with ‘looking at the moon’ (tsuki mireba). The Left, progressing from, ‘bound with frost’ (shimo musubu) to ‘leaf tips’ (sueba) and then ‘dwarf-bamboo grove’ (ozasawara) sounds most fine [yoroshiku kikokyu]. Thus, the Left must win.

Autumn III: 23



hatsujimo ya
aki o kometemo
kesa iro kawaru
noji no shinohara
Have the first frosts
In the midst of autumn
This morning has brought a change of hue
To the arrow-bamboo groves in Noji!

Lord Kanemune.


Right (Win).


ika ni mata
aki wa yūbe to
hana ni shimo oku
nobe no akebono
How much more striking
Than an autumn evening
Spent gazing, is
The frost fallen on the flowers
In the fields at dawn!



Neither team finds any fault with the other’s poem this round and say as much.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘frost’ (shimo) on the ‘arrow-bamboo groves in Noji’ (noji no shinohara) is certainly elegant [yū ni wa haberubeshi]. The Right’s ‘frost fallen on the flowers’ (hana ni oku shimo) is, too; although there is no difference in formal quality [uta no sama wa ikuhodo sabetsu naku] between them, ‘frost fallen on the flowers’ at ‘dawn’ (akebono) is more arresting [midokoro ya haberu] than ‘arrow-bamboo groves’.

Autumn III: 22



mushi no ne no
yowaru mo shiruku
asajū ni
kesa wa samukeku
hadare shimo furu
The insects’ cries
Have plainly weakened;
Cogon grass, where
On this chilly morning
Patchy frost has fallen.

Lord Ari’ie.




omou yori
mata aware wa
tsuyu ni shimo oku
niwa no yomogyū
I feel
Yet more sadness
Laid upon me:
Upon the dew has frost fallen
In my tangled mugwort garden…



The Right find no fault with the Left’s poem. The Left wonder about the appropriateness of ‘upon the dew has frost fallen’ (tsuyu ni shimo oku).

The Right respond, ‘This refers to when frost falls upon something where dew has already fallen.’ In reply, the Left say, ‘Surely, it is when both of them fall together. We do wonder about frost falling on top of dew.’

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s poem has an unclear link between its initial and final sections. On the matter of the Right’s ‘frosty dew’, this has the same sense as in the Right’s poem in the previous round. The dew has frozen into frost, surely? However, as the Left’s poem is not worthy of a victory, the round must tie.

Autumn III: 21

Left (Win).


tokete nenu
yumeji mo shimo ni
mazu shiru mono wa
katashiki no sode
Falling into sleep
Even my dreams are with frost
Filled, and
First to know it are
My lonely sleeves…

Lord Sada’ie.




aki no no no
chigusa no iro mo
kare’aenu ni
tsuyu okikomuru
yowa no hatsujimo
The autumn fields
Myriad hues
Cannot be completely covered
When drenched with dew,
First frost at midnight.

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right state that the Left’s poem is ‘difficult to understand completely’ [tashikani kokoroegatashi]. The Left find no fault with the Right’s poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘even my dreams are with frost’ (yumeji mo shimo ni) sounds pleasant [yoroshiku kikoehaberu]. The Right’s ‘drenched with dew’ (tsuyu okikomuru) is elegant in configuration [sugata wa yū ni kikoehaberu], but it is unclear: is it dew turned to frost being drenched by dew? The Left must win.

Autumn III: 20



iro kawaru
oshi no kegoromo
kesa mizu wa
furu tomo shiraji
aki no tsuyujimo
Colours changing on
The mandarin duckdown:
If I see it not this morning,
I’ll not know that has fallen:
Autumn’s frosty dew!





shimo sayuru
yomogi ga shita no
koe mo kareno ni
nari ya shinuran
Frozen by frost,
Beneath the tangled mugwort
Has the cricket’s
Chirp wearied as the withered fields

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right say, ‘It sounds as if the Left cannot see frost, unless it’s on a mandarin duck’s down!’
The Left respond, ‘There is the poem ‘the down-clad ducks come to my mind’ (kamo no uwage o omoi koso yare). If one composes a poem about one thing, that’s what one is composing about. As for what the Right have to say in their poem, if one is listening to a cricket’s chirp, how can it be withering away? Dubious! [fushin]’

Shunzei’s judgement: I must say I am doubtful myself about saying frosty dewfall changes the colour of ‘mandarin duckdown’ (oshi no kegoromo). In the Right’s poem, saying, ‘the cricket’s chirp’ (kirigirisu no koe) ‘the withered fields become’ (kareno ni nari ya shinuran) sounds as if one cannot hear it at all. The Left’s use of ‘dew’ (tsuyu), too, seems pointless. The Right has an elegant [yū naru] initial section, but the diction in the final section is dubious [shūku no kotoba fushin ni kikoyu]. I make the round a tie.

Autumn III: 19



madaki ni shimo o
keshiki naru kana
Upon the maidenflowers
Already has frost
Fallen, so
Past their prime
They look, indeed!

Lord Suetsune.


Right (Win).


momijiba wa
ono ga sometaru
iro zo kashi
yosoge ni okeru
kesa no shimo kana
The autumn leaves –
‘Tis you have stained
Them with your hue!
Indifferently falling
Frost-flakes in the morning…



The Right have no criticisms to make of the Left’s poem this round. The Left wonder about the appropriateness of ‘indifferently falling’ (yosoge ni okeru).

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left saying that on ‘maidenflowers frost falling’ (ominaeshi shimo o itadaki) would put them past their prime seems pointless [sada ni oyobazaru ka]. In addition the final ‘they look, indeed’ (keshiki naru kana) seems feeble [chikara naki]. The Right’s style is intriguing [fūtei kyō arite]. I must make it the winner.