Tag Archives: dawn

Love IV: 2


wa ga kokoro ni mo
tagueba ya
aware o souru
akegure no sora
Sunk in lonely thought
Does my heart
Match it?
Traced with sorrow, is
The sky at dawn.

Lord Kanemune.


urami wabi
kaesu koromo no
shirushi dani
naki akatsuki wa
ikaga kanashiki
In despite and sorrow,
I reversed my garb, but
To no effect;
Thus, this dawn
Is so much more sad…

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.

The Right state: the use of the question in the Left’s poem, means that the comparison is not made sufficiently forcefully. The Left state: we find no faults worth mentioning in particular in the Right’s poem.

In judgement: neither poem seems to have any qualities which make them worthy of a win, or a loss.

Autumn III: 28

Left (Win).


nagatsuki no
ariake no sora o
mite nochi zo
aware no hate wa
In the Longest Month
At dawn, the skies
I’ve seen, and
That there is nothing more sad
Have I come to know.

Lord Kanemune.




aki mo sonata zo
katabuku tsuki no
kage o mishi yori
Turning to dusk
Is autumn, too; that direction
I despise, with
The sinking moon’s
Light in my sight!



As the previous round.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘At dawn, the skies I’ve seen’ (ariake no sora o mite nochi zo) and the Right’s ‘The sinking moon’s light in my sight!’ (katabuku tsuki no kage o mishi yori), in terms of configuration, have neither strengths nor faults [sugata shōretsu naki], but ‘that direction’ (sonata zo) sounts overly simplistic [kotozokite kikoe]. 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 II: 22

Left (Tie).


akekata ni
yo wa narinu to ya
sugawara ya
fushimi no tai ni
shigi zo tachikeru
Is it that dawn
Has come to break the night,
That from the sedge-lined
Fields of Fushimi
The snipe have started?

Lord Suetsune.




akenuru ka
shigi no hanegaki
neya sugite
sode ni tsuki moru
fukakusa no sato
Has dawn come?
The snipe’s wingbeats
Cross my bedchamber,
Sleeves lit by lonely moonlight
In the overgrown depths of Fukakusa…

Lord Takanobu.


The Right state, ‘There is no precedent for the addition of “fields” (tai) to “sedge-lined Fushimi” (sugawara ya fushimi). In addition, using ya at the end of both the second and third lines is grating on the ear.’ The Left merely remark, ‘“Fukakusa” is now, perhaps more commonly associated with quail.”

Shunzei’s judgement: ‘In regard to the Right’s poem, although one would really like there to be a precedent, and there are doubtless rice fields in “sedge-lined Fushimi”, I do still feel that “fields” here is a little outre, is it not? While the Left’s “sleeved lit by lonely moonlight” (sode ni tsuki moru) is superlative, I would prefer “quail” to be associated with “Fukakusa”. If snipe call for a place name, it is not Fukakusa, but Yamada, I would think. Both poems are excellent, but with faults, and for this reason the round ties.’

Autumn II: 20

Left (Win).


susono no io no
sode yori shigi no
tatsu kokochisuru
Clothed in Cathay robes
In a hut at Susono
My traveller’s pillow –
My sleeve – from which the snipe
I feel are starting.

Lord Sada’ie.




tabi makura
yowa no aware mo
shigi tatsu nobe no
akatsuki no sora
Clad in traveller’s garb
All night long in lonely reverie
As beating wings time and again
Snipe start from the fields
Into the dawning sky.



The Right query whether it is possible to draw an association between ‘Cathay robes’ and snipe? The Left wonder about the usage of’lonely reverie as beating wings’.

Shunzei’s judgement: The criticisms from both teams are ones I have encountered before. As the poet has used ‘My sleeve – from which the snipe’ (sode yori shigi), and ‘a hut at Susono’ (susono no io), it requires the use of ‘Cathay robes’ (kara koromo) – there is no more to it than that. As for the Right, saying ‘Snipe start from the fields’ (shigi tatsu nobe) and ‘All night long in lonely reverie as beating wings time and again’ (yowa no aware mo momohagaki) – there is no fault to be found here, either. However, saying ‘My sleeve – from which the snipe’ is better. It must win.

Autumn II: 19



komo makura
takase no yodo ni
tatsu shigi no
haoto mo soso ya
aware kaku nari
Pillowed on a mat of rush
Where the Yodo meets Takase
The starting snipe
With rustling wingbeats
Draw in my melancholy.



Right (Win).


awaresa wa
hagi fuku kaze no
oto nomi ka
ariake no tsuki ni
shigi mo nakunari
Melancholy is not
In the wind upon the bush clover’s
Sigh alone but
With the moon at break of dawn
The snipe a’crying.

The Provisional Master of the Empress Household Office.


The Right state that the Left’s poem is based on a misinterpretation of the song ‘The Spreading Moon Rises’, and this has led to the usage of ‘mat of rush’. Furthermore, in the absence of expressions such as ‘bush clover’ or ‘new grown rice’, ‘rustling’ lacks a context. The Left merely state that the initial section of the Right’s poem ‘does not sound attractive’.

Shunzei’s judgement: The gentlemen of the Right have already stated the issue with ‘rush mat’. As for ‘rustling’, I have already suggested that it was unsuitable in the earlier poem on bush clover in the topic of ‘Autumn Evenings’, and it is unfeasible to think that one could go so far as to use it in reference to ‘wing beats’. In regard to the Right’s poem, the initial line, indeed, sounds poor, and the central ‘alone but’ is also regrettable, but even so, it wins the round.

Autumn II: 18

Left (Win).


yama tōki
kadota no sue wa
kiri harete
honami ni shizumu
ariake no tsuki
By the distant mountains,
At the farthest reach of fields before my gates,
The mists are clearing, and
Sinking amongst the waves of rice-ears is
The dawntime moon…

A Servant Girl.




honomeku kage mo
inaba no kaze wa
sode ni kayoite
The autumn evening moon’s
Faint light is
Moving, indeed;
The wind upon the rice-stalks
Passing o’er my sleeves…

Lord Takanobu.


The Right simply say that the Left’s poem is ‘good’. The Left have no criticisms of the Right’s poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s ‘dawntime moon’ (ariake no tsuki) and the Right’s ‘early evening moon’ are both deeply moving; the Left, continuing with ‘at the farthest reach of fields before my gates, the mists are clearing’ (kadota no sue wa kiri harete) is particularly fine, I feel. ‘Sinking amongst the waves of rice-ears’ (honami ni shizumu) is certainly technically proficient, and yet lacks a certain profundity. And yet, the initial ‘By the distant mountains’ (yama tōki) show a true depth. It should win.

Summer I: 27



yū suzumi
neya e mo iranu
utatane no
yume o nokoshite
akuru shinonome
In the cool of evening
I’ve not taken to my bed, but
Have dreamed on
In the dark before dawn’s light.

Lord Ari’ie.


Right (Win).


sumu tsuki no
hikari wa shimo to
mada yoi nagara
ariake no sora
The clear moon
Light is frost
Frigid, yet
Still ‘tis night
In the dawn-touched sky.



Neither team has any criticisms to make this round.

Shunzei says, ‘The Left’s phrase “have dreamed on” (yume o nokoshite) is extremely good. The earlier “In the cool of evening” (yū suzumi) is a phrase often used in composition, but I dislike it. The Right’s poems is charming throughout. It should win.’

Spring II: 29

Left (Tie).


minu yo made
nagame yori
mukashi ni kasumu
haru no akebono
Invisible, in the past
There is nothing to regret,
Long ago upon the hazy
Springtime dawn.

A Servant Girl.


Right (Tie).


onaji nagame ni
kaeru made
kokoro ni nokore
haru no akebono
Were I to think back,
Until this selfsame sight
Should return,
Let it in my heart remain:
This springtime dawn.



Both teams praise the other’s poems this round, saying they are ‘satisifying.’

Shunzei says, ‘Both poems are on ‘spring dawn’, the Left ‘long ago hazed’ (mukashi ni kasumu) and the Right ‘remaining in the heart’ (kokoro ni nokore): both are equally charming in form and sense. This is a good tie.’

Spring II: 28



kasumi ka wa
hana uguisu ni
haru ni komoreru
yado no akebono
Is this haze?
No, in blossom and warbler song
Am I sealed;
Shut in by springtime
Is my home this dawn.

Lord Sada’ie


Right (Win).


kasumi tatsu
sue no matsuyama
honobono to
nami ni hanaruru
yokogumo no sora
The hazes rise
Around the pine-clad peak of Sué;
Departing from the waves,
Narrow clouds trail across the sky.



The Right team have no particular remarks to make about the Left’s poem this round, but the Left state that the Right’s poem is ‘most satisfying.’

Shunzei’s judgement is: ‘The Left’s “Is this haze?” (kasumi ka wa) seems like it wants to be “Is this just haze?” (kasumi nomi ka wa). “In blossom and warbler song am I sealed” (hana uguisu ni tojirarete) and “my home this dawn” (yado no akebono) remind one of “the lofty palace of Shinsei stands behind warblers and blossom” and this is excellent. As for the Right’s poem, this is particularly moving, with its depiction of the scene “departing from the waves, narrow clouds trail across the sky” (nami ni hanaruru yokogumo no sora), recalling “the pine-clad peak of Sué” (sue no matsuyama). The poem does start with “hazes rise” (kasumi tatsu) and having “haze” (kasumi), “wave” (nami) and “cloud” (kumo) means the poem is somewhat overburdened with similar imagery. “Narrow clouds trail across the sky”, though, does make a particularly strong impression, and the Left’s poem is merely satisfying, as has been said. Thus, “my home this dawn” must lose, I think.’