Tag Archives: Autumn Rain

Autumn II: 6

Left (Tie).


kosame furu
katsushika wase o
karu mama ni
tami no sode sae
Showers fall in
Katsushika; early ripened rice
Even the peasants’ sleeves
Are damp.



Right (Tie).


kohagi saku
katayamakage ni
higurashi no
nakisu sabitaru
murasame no sora
Bush clover blooming
In the mountain’s shade;
The sundown cicadas
Sing intermittently
To the showery skies.



Neither team has any criticisms to make.

Shunzei say, ‘The style and construction of both poems is superb, though the Left’s is particularly archaic in tone, and thus using mama ni in the central section is somewhat weak, is it not? Surely, “Whilst reaping” (karu nae ni) would have been a better fit! The Right’s simple conclusion of “showery skies” (murasame no sora) is particularly effective. However, the Left, too, with “even the peasants’ sleeves” (tami no sode sae) shows a fine spirit. The two poems are a match and tie.’

Autumn II: 5

Left (Win).


kohagi ga moto no
niwa no ame o
koyoi wa ogi no
ue ni kiku kana
Falling with the darkness
To the solitary bush-clover’s roots
The rain within my garden
Tonight, on the silver grass
I hear.

A Servant Girl.




ogiwara ya
nobe no aki kaze
sue wakete
sabishisa souru
murasame no koe
Silver grass meadows –
Across the fields the autumn wind
Brushes the fronds;
Adding loneliness to
The whisper of showers…

Lord Takanobu.


The Right say, ‘In the Left’s poem, it sounds as if the rain falls in daytime on “the solitary bush-clover’s roots” (kohagi ga moto) and at night “on the silver grass” (ogi no ue).’ The Left have no criticisms of the Right’s poem.

Shunzei judges, ‘I see no fault in saying that the “rain falling with the darkness” (furikurasu ame) is something one can see on the bush clover’s roots during the day, but only hear at night. As for the Right, “Across the fields the autumn wind brushes the fronds” (nobe no aki kaze sue wakete) is superb in construction. In the final line “whisper of showers” (murasame no koe) , though, “whisper” is an excessively direct personalisation, is it not? The spirit of the Left’s “on the silver grass” must win.”

Autumn II: 4



inishie no
hito o kiku ni mo
aki no yo no
mado utsu ame wa
Long ago
The ladies, I hear,
On autumn nights
With rain beating ‘gainst the window
Were lonely, as am I…

Lord Kanemune.




noki chikaki
matsu no kaze dani
aru mono o
mado uchisouru
aki no murasame
Close by my eaves,
Waiting, with the wind through the pines,
The window, beaten by
Autumn showers.



The Right complain, ‘In the Left’s poem, the poet seems to hear of the appearance of “long ago ladies”, but what is it that he hears – one would usually expect more, would one not?’ The Left have no criticisms of the Right’s poem.

Shunzei broadly agrees: ‘The Left’s poem, in saying “ladies, I hear” would certainly seem to be recollecting the concubines at the court of Xuanzong, but I wonder if this is clearly enough expressed in the poem? The Right’s final section “The window, beaten by Autumn showers” (mado uchisouru aki no murasame) sounds particularly fine. Thus, the Right wins.’

Autumn II: 3



aki no yo wa
mado utsu ame ni
yume samete
nokiba ni masaru
sode no tamamizu
On an autumn night
Rain beating ‘gainst my widow
Wakes me from my dreams,
Falling from the eaves,
Yet many more are the droplets on my sleeves.

Lord Ari’ie.




miru yume mo
mado utsu ame ni
makura ni aki no
aware o zo shiru
Rain beating ‘gainst my window
Starts me awake;
Upon my lonely pillow, autumn’s
Sharp sadness do I feel.

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


Neither team has any criticisms of the other’s poem this round.

Shunzei agrees: ‘Both poems are superb in both style and form and, in addition, the initial sections are generally similar, but in terms of the concluding sections, the Left’s is slightly deeper. Thus, the Left wins.’

Autumn II: 2



yukue naki
aki no omoi zo
murasame nabiku
kumo no ochikata
My endless
Thoughts of autumn
Have been interrupted by
The showers streaming from
The far-off clouds.

Lord Sada’ie.




hi ni soete
aki no suzushisa
shigure wa madashi
yūgure no ame
With the setting of the sun
Comes the cool of
‘Tis not yet shower season,
Yet evening brings the rain…



The Right complain that the Left’s ‘far-off clouds’ (kumo no ochikata) is ‘difficult to understand’. The Left initially query the meaning of madashi, and then say it’s ‘not a good expression’.

Shunzei states, ‘The gentlemen of the Right have stated that “far-off clouds” is difficult to grasp, and this is certainly the case. Moreover, it is difficult to determine the voice of the speaker here. Madashi is unproblematic. It’s usual sense in poetry is “not yet” – as can be seen from the Kokinshu’s “were I to hear words yet unspoken”. The final section of the Right’s poem is particularly charming. It must win.’

Autumn II: 1



ame furedo
kasatoriyama no
shika no ne wa
nakanaka yoso no
sode nurashikeri
Though rain falls on
Kasatori Mountain, with an umbrella in my hand, it is
The stag’s call,
Distant, that
Has left dampness on my sleeves…

Lord Suetsune.




saranu dani
aki no aware wa
taesenu ni
kokorobososa o
souru ame kana
It should not be so, yet
Autumn wrenches at my heart, so
I cannot bear it;
Brought on by the rain…

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right have two criticisms of the Left’s poem: ‘The initial five syllables have no link with the end of the poem. Furthermore, we question the use of “distant” (yoso). The Left merely say that they find the Right’s poem ‘unremarkable’.

Shunzei broadly agrees: ‘The lack of linkage in the Left’s poem is as stated – although it starts “Though rain falls on” (ame furedo), it seems as if the poet’s sleeves were wet by the stag’s call, and thus the poem does not appear to be composed on the theme of “rain”. Whatever the formal faults of the Right’s poem, it is composed on “Autumn Rain”. It must win.’