The Right wonder what the intention is in the Left’s poem of regretting the breakage of ‘brushwood branches’. The Left say that the Right’s poem, ‘recalls a famous poem by one of the other gentlemen of the Right.’
Shunzei’s judgement: Simply using the old-fashioned koyade in place of the more current shiishiba does not improve the sound of the poem, I think. Starting ‘Deep within the mountains’ (yama fukaku) and then continuing ‘Woodsmen break and burn’ (shizu no oritaku) – is this supposed to convey the conception of felling trees [shiba o koru kokoro ni ya]? I hardly think that if one lived in the mountains, the sound of trees being cut and burnt would make one feel the chill. The diction of ‘deep within the mountains’ does not seem appropriate [‘yama fukaku’ no kotoba, kanai mo sezaru]. Given that it does sound old-fashioned, koyade does not sound like a winner, either. The poems are of equal quality.
The Right question the Left’s use of ‘Dawn it is in name alone’ (ariake no na bakari). The Left find no fault with the Right’s poem.
Shunzei’s judgement: I do not feel there is anything particularly wrong with ‘name alone; in autumn’ (na bakari aki no), but the Right’s ‘Together with the moon in the dawning skies’ (tsuki to tomo ni ya ariake no sora) seems most fine [yoroshikuhaberubeshi]. Thus, the Right wins.
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.
The Right team once again rate the Left’s poem as ‘satisfying’, while the Left say the Right’s is ‘especially satisfying. ’
Shunzei’s judgement is that ‘the Left’s “hazy moonlight from the daybreak sky” (tsuki kage kasumu ariake no sora) and the Right’s “Misty moonlit dawning sky” (oborozukiyo no akebono no sora) are both splendid. It is difficult, indeed, to decide between them. Another excellent tie.’