Tag Archives: dewfall

Love VIII: 27

Left (Win)

mushi no ne mo
aki o kagiri to
uramu nari
taenu omoi ya
tagui naruran
The insects’ cries do
Mark the bounds of autumn
With despair;
Are endless thoughts of love
To be my only fellow?

Lord Kanemune


natsumushi mo
urayamashiki wa
aki no yo no
tsuyu ni wa moenu
omoi narikeri
The fireflies are
A source of envy,
On an autumn night
When dewfall damps down
The fires of my passion…


The Gentlemen of the Right: the Left’s poem has no faults to mention. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we wonder about the appropriateness of ‘dewfall damps down’ (tsuyu ni wa moenu).

In judgement: the Left’s poem has been stated to be without fault by the gentlemen present. In the Right’s poem, I wonder if saying, ‘dewfall damps down’ is meaning nothing burns in autumn? On the matter of using the term ‘summer insects’ (natsumushi) to refer to fireflies, I do wonder whether it is appropriate to imply with one’s composition that there are no such insects in autumn. Although in the Collection of Poems to Sing Aloud, fireflies occur in the Summer section, among the same collection’s Chinese poems there is ‘in the dark before dawn innumerable fireflies start from the autumn grasses’. Furthermore, in Pan Anren’s ‘Rhapsody on Autumn Inspirations’ he says, ‘Glittering fireflies shine by the palace gate, and crickets sing from the eaves of the fence’. Even though there are countless cases of Autumn fireflies, how can one have composed suggesting that there are not? Thus, the Left wins.

Love VIII: 24

Left (Tie)

kono koro no
kokoro no soko o
yoso ni miba
shika naku nobe no
aki no yūgure
Of late
Of the depths of my heart
Were you to catch a distant glimpse:
A stag belling in the meadow
On an autumn evening…

A Servant Girl


susono no tsuyu ni
shika nakite
hito matsu sode mo
namida sou nari
Drapes dewfall on the mountains’ skirts,
With a stag’s sad cry;
Awaiting him, my sleeves, too,
Are wet with tears.


Left and Right together: we find no faults to mention.

In judgement: it would be impossible to ever exhaust the overtones of feeling in ‘a stag belling in the meadow on an autumn evening’ (shika naku nobe no aki no yūgure) in the Left’s poem; in the Right’s poem the configuration and conception of ‘awaiting him, my sleeves, too, are wet with tears’ (hito matsu sode mo namida sou nari) is richly evocative. I find it extremely hard to put both poems down, so this round, again, is a tie of quality.

MYS VI: 971

A poem composed on the 17th day of the Eighth Month Tempyō 4 by Takahashi no Mushimaro, when Fujiwara no Umakai was sent into the west to inspect the military forces there.

白雲の 龍田の山の 露霜に 色づく時に うち越えて 旅行く君は 五百重山 い行きさくみ 敵守る 筑紫に至り 山のそき 野のそき見よと 伴の部を 班ち遣はし 山彦の 答へむ極み たにぐくの さ渡る極み 国形を 見したまひて 冬こもり 春さりゆかば 飛ぶ鳥の 早く来まさね 龍田道の 岡辺の道に 丹つつじの にほはむ時の 桜花 咲きなむ時に 山たづの 迎へ参ゐ出む 君が来まさば

sira kumo no
tatuta no yama no
tuyusimo ni
iroduku toki ni
tabi yuku kimi pa
tukusi ni itari
no nosoki miyo to
tomo no be wo
akati tukapasi
yamabiko no
kotapemu kipami
taniguku no
sawataru kipami
kunikata wo
paru sariyukaba
tobu tori no
payaku kimasane
tatsutadi no
wokabe no miti ni
nitutuzi no
nipopamu toki no
sakinamu toki ni
yamatadu no
kimi ga kimasaba
Clouds of white
On Tatsuta Mountain
When the frosty dewfall
Shades it,
Across it
You will go, my Lord,
Many mountains
Passing, and
At foe-warding
Tsukushi arrive;
On the mountains end,
On the plains end, gazing;
Sentry squads
Dividing for despatch;
Echoes from the mountains’
Testing limits
Of the land
Sealed in winter, then
When spring comes once more
As a soaring bird
Swiftly return!
When upon the trails of Tatsuta
Upon the hillside paths
Ochre azaleas
Bloom brightly;
When cherry blossom
Bearing elder flowers
Will we come to greet you!
Should you come home again…


Love IV: 12


hitorine no
sode no nagori no
hikage ni kienu
tsuyu mo arikeri
Sleeping solo
My sleeves remain
Damp in the morning;
The sunlight leaves untouched
The dewfall there.

A Servant Girl.

Right (Win).

michishiba o
wakete tsuyukeki
sode naraba
nuretemo kure mo
matamashi mono o
If the roadside grasses,
Have brushed dewfall
On these sleeves,
May to dampen them again, ‘til evening
I would wish to wait…


The Right state: we find no faults in the Left’s poem. The Left state: there is a very recent poem, ‘If he would be wet with waves should surely wait for evening?’.

In judgement: simply saying, ‘Sleeping solo my sleeves remain damp in the morning’ (hitorine no sode no nagori no asajimeri) seems to lack the conception of love. I wonder who might have written the ‘recent poem’, ‘If he would be wet with waves should surely wait for evening?’ mentioned by the Right? How, indeed, can we avoid poems which are not in the anthologies? In any case, the poem here is ‘May to dampen them again, ‘til evening I would wish to wait’ and the initial line is different. This level of resemblance between poems is not uncommon. The Right’s poem is pleasant. It should win.

Autumn III: 12

Left (Win).


toki wakanu
nami sae iro ni
hahaso no mori ni
arashi fukurashi
Ever unchanging,
Even the waves have coloured
On Izumi River;
In the oak groves
Have the wild winds blown.

Lord Sada’ie.




aki fukaki
iwata no ono no

shitaba wa kusa no
tsuyu ya somuran
Autumn’s deep at
In the oak groves
Have the lower leaves by grass
Touched dewfall been dyed?



Neither team has any criticisms to make of the other’s poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: The total effect of the Left’s ‘even the waves have coloured on Izumi River’ (nami sae iro in izumigawa) is most superior [sugata wa yū narubeshi]. However, there does not appear to be any element linked to the final section’s ‘wild winds’ (arashi) in the initial part of the poem. The Right has ‘have the lower leaves by grass touched dewfall been dyed?’ (shitaba wa kusa no tsuyu ya somuran), without, in the initial section having an expression like ‘treetops stained by showers’ (kozue wa shigure somu), and I wonder about having the lower leaves on the trees touched by ‘dewfall on the grass’ (kusa no tsuyu). The Left’s ‘have the wild winds blown’ should win.

Autumn I: 10

Left (Win).


akigoto ni
taenu hoshiai no
sayo fukete
hikari naraburu
niwa no tomoshibi
Each and every autumn,
For the eternal meeting of the stars
Night falls, and
Lights align with
The palace garden lanterns.

Lord Sada’ie.




tsuyu fukai
niwa no tomoshibi
kazu kienu
yo ya fukenuran
hoshiai no sora
Deep dewfall
Upon the garden lanterns
Extinguished a number;
Has night fallen, I wonder,
Upon the sky wherein stars meet?



The Right have no comments to make about the Left’s poem this round, while the Left simply say the Right’s poem has ‘major faults’. (Criticising the use of the completive marker nu twice in quick succession: kienu, fukenuran.)

Shunzei ignores this point, simply saying, ‘The expression “Has night fallen, I wonder, upon the sky wherein stars meet?” (yo ya fukenuran hoshiai no sora) is splendid, but there is no reason for beginning the poem with “deep dewfall” (tsuyu fukaki). The Lefts’ poem has no faults – thus, it must win.’

Spring III: 23

Left (Win).


ame sosoku
ike no ukikusa
kaze koete
nami to tsuyu to ni
kawazu nakunari
Rain drifts down
Upon the duckweed in the pond,
Driven by the wind
Among wavelets and dewfall
The frogs are calling.

A Servant Girl.




niwa no omo wa
hitotsu ni miyuru
ukikusa o
koko zo migiwa to
kawazu nakunari
The garden’s face
Seems as one
With the duckweed;
‘Here lies the water’s edge,’
The frogs are calling…



Neither Right nor Left has any particular remarks to make about the other’s poem this round.

Shunzei says, ‘Both poems are splendid in form, but the Left’s ‘among the wavelets and dewfall’ (nami to tsuyu to ni) is particularly pleasing. It must win.