The Right state: the final section of the Left’s poem is difficult to grasp. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.
In judgement: the Left’s ‘sleeping all alone how deep this night is…’ (maro ga marone mo yobukaki mono o) does not sound as if it links with the initial section of the poem. ‘Alone’ (maro) is also unacceptable. The Right’s ‘to lend me an over-mantle’ (mi no shirogoromo) sounds elegant. I make it the winner.
The Right state: the Left’s poem certainly has no faults. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no conception of Love.
In judgement: both Gentlemen’s pictures are ‘painted’ (kakitomete), with the Left then using ‘upon my darling’ (imo ga ue ni mo), which certainly has a conception of love. The Right simply draws a picture of a maidenflower and drenches it with dew, so it does not seem as if he is being moved by the sight of a person. Thus, again, the Left seems the superior poem.
The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults we can mention. The Gentlemen of the Left state: our feelings are the same as those of the Right
In judgement: both Left and Right are on ‘crickets’ (kirigirisu) and their configuration and diction sound equally elegantly beautiful. I feel that the Right, with ‘deep in dew and sad, I wish you were’ (tsuyu fukaki aware o omoe), is somewhat lacking in the conception of the poet’s own love, but the Left, with ‘I alone am wringing out my sleeves, I feel’ (ware nomi shiboru sode ka to omou ni), has an excellent conception of love, so I must state that the Left is the winner.
The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to mention. The Gentlemen of the Left state: the intial part of the Right’s poem is derived from an old poem, and so does the end!
In judgement: I wonder whether the cogon-grass (asajū), mentioned initially, is as clearly conceived as the ‘lawn’ (michishiba) mentioned at the end? The Right’s poem refers to ‘So full are my thoughts, what am I to do? With the autumn wind’, but reverses the beginning and end of that poem; it is extremely old-fashioned in style, but pleasant as it is plainly intended to be understood as a variant of its model. Thus, the Right wins over the combination of ‘cogon-grass’ and ‘lawn’.
The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to indicate. The Left state: in the Later Collection of Gleanings there is a poem about Ibuki, which uses ‘burst into flame’ (moyu). We wonder about the suitability of using ‘burst into flame’ without also using Ibuki. The Right, in response: older poems used ‘burst entirely into flame’ (sashimoyu), and this composition is the same.
In judgement: I am not accustomed to hearing ‘the depths of my heart are silver grass’ (kokoro no soko no kaya) as in the Left’s poem. The image in the Right’s poem of moxa not completely covered with dew bursting into flame seems rather overblown. The strengths and weaknesses of the two poems are unclear, so the round should tie.
Both Left and Right state: we find no faults to mention.
In judgement: both poems refer to ‘memory ferns’ (shinobugusa), and there is not a great deal of difference in quality between them, but the Left’s ‘rain of tears’ (namida no ame), with its association of dew, is slightly better than the Right’s ‘ferns grow thickly’ (kusa zo shigereru), and so should win.