Tag Archives: crickets

Love VIII: 25


oki mo ide
toshi furu koi wa
tokoyo no kami ya
shirushi misubeki
Unable to arise
From love these many years,
May I
By the eternal gods
Be shown a sign!


Right (Win)

hitori fusu
naganagashi yo no
kanashiki o
katarai akasu
kirigirisu kana
Lying alone,
So long, long the night’s
Lightening it with chatter
Are the crickets!

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office

The Gentlemen of the Right state: what is the meaning of ‘the eternal gods’ (toko no kami). In appeal, the Left: in the Chronicles of Japan, insects are worshipped under the name of ‘the eternal gods’ and made to seem like men. The Left state: what can an insect chatter about?

In judgement: in regard to the Left’s poem, while it is true that insects were worshipped, a poem on ‘Love and Insects’ with no insect is lacking something from the start. This poem would seem to be more a case of ‘Love and Prayers’. Thus, this is nothing enduring. A prior example has been contrived, but this is ineffective. It does not seem as if this insect’s nature has any relation to the topic. The Right’s poem has a commonplace cricket. Where is the fault in having it lighten one’s mood with chatter? Thus, the Right 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.