Tag Archives: despair

Love VII: 21


yo o kasane
kokoro no seki no
kataki kana
wa ga ne wa tori no
sorane naraneba
Night upon night
The barriers upon your heart
Stand firm, indeed!
For the sounds I make are no cock’s
False crow!

Lord Ari’ie

Right (Win).

hito shirenu
urami ni amaru
nami no ue o
osauru sode ya
suma no sekimori
She cannot know
The prospect of my despair;
Dashed upon the waves
Are my sleeves
Barrier Wardens at Suma?


The Right state: why specifically refer to a ‘false crow’ (sorane)? This makes it sound as if the barrier would not be opened for a real bird’s cry. In response, the Left: as there is the precedent of a barrier being opened in response to a false crow, the poem draws upon this to refer to ‘the sounds I make’ (wa ga ne) – we fail to see why this is problematic. The Left state: we find no faults in need of identification in the Right’s poem.

In judgement: it seems difficult to distinguish between ‘the sounds I make’ and the ‘false crow’ in the Left’s poem, and the Right’s ‘dashed upon the waves are my sleeves’ (osauru sode) is pleasant. Thus, the Right wins.

Love V: 14

Left (Tie).

iku kaeri
wa ga mi no usa mo
kokoro tsukushi no
hito o kouran
How deep is
My despair?
I do not know, but
My heart, exhausted is in Tsukushi,
With the one I love…

Lord Kanemune.


kimi ga sumu
abukumagawa wa
na nomi shite
yoso nagara nomi
koi ya wataruran
My darling dwells by
Abukuma River – known for meeting –
But that is all:
Simply far apart
Will our love ever be?

Lord Tsune’ie.

Both Left and Right state: the poem sounds antiquated.

In judgement: the Left’s ‘how deep is’ (iku kaeri) and the Right’s ‘simply far apart’ (yoso nagara nomi) once again, are of the same standard.