The Right state: the Left’s poem has not faults to indicate. The Left state: the Right’s poem lacks the conception of Love.
In judgement: the Left uses ‘bamboo’ (kuretake) and the Right ‘star lily’ (himeyuri): although the Left’s ‘Maid: will she draw’ (ko wa shiorubeki) does not seem possible to accept on grounds of style, but the Right, in addition to also lacking much conception of Love, has ‘heartless wind’ (nasakenaki kaze) which sounds poor. Thus, the Left should win, I think.
The Gentlemen of the Right state: we must say that the Left’s poem has no faults. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we wonder about the expression ‘frozen sins’ (kōreru tsumi).
Shunzei’s judgement: saying ‘torches of bamboo’ (take no tomoshibi) in order to refer to the ‘three worlds’ Buddhas’, is a somewhat unusual expression. The Right’s ‘my frozen sins do vanish into the skies’ (kōreru tsumi ya sora ni kiyuran) seems elegant [yū ni miehaberu], but refers only to the sins vanishing, and the conception of the Buddhas’ names seems somewhat lacking. Comparing the two poems, they must tie.
The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults. The Gentlemen of the Left state: the Right’s poem is pedestrian [tsune no koto nari].
Shunzei’s judgement: the sound of ‘Bamboo by the river, leaves streaming’ (kawatake no nabiku), leading to ‘the three worlds’ Buddhas’ (miyo no hotoke) is not a particularly good expression. In the Right’s poem, if it was changed to ‘the disappearance of one’s sins is pleasant, but’ (tsumi no kiyuru koto wa ureshiki o), this would be more in line with the conception of the final section of the poem. By beginning ‘how pleasant that’ (ureshiku mo) it sounds as if the poet is pleased to bear another year, too. I wonder, is ‘bamboo by the river’ a recollection of the Palace Gardens? The Left should win.
Both Left and Right are exaggerated in their insistence that the other’s poem lacks any faults.
Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘Upon Mt Yoshino, in fitful sleep upon a bed of bamboo’ (yoshinoyama suzu no karine ni) would seem to suggest an ascetic who, having travelled into the mountains, has made himself a hut from bamboo and pillowed upon the tree roots, would it not? But here he seems to have simply cut them down, spread them out and lain upon them! In addition, ‘The wind gusts through the pines’ (matsukaze hayashi) fails to sound elegant [yū ni shi kikoezaru]. The Right, by starting with ‘On the mountains’ edge’ (toyamanaru), suggests that the poet is speaking of his own dwelling’s door in the mountains. ‘Hearing hail blown horizontal against the pines’ (arare yokogiru matsu no oto) also just does not sound appropriate. Both poems have an exaggerated feeling [kotogotoshikaran to wa kokorozashite], and I cannot grasp who they are referring to. However, the Left’s poem is, still, somewhat superior.