A party of ladies on their way home from Shiga came into the precincts of the Kazan temple and stood for a while beneath the wisteria; when they had gone, he composed this and sent it to them.
yoso ni mite kaFeran Fito ni Fudi no Fana FaFimatuFare yo eda Fa oru tomo A casual glance, and Then those girls are gone; O, wisteria blooms, Twine around and hold them here, Though your branches break…
Composed on seeing cherry blossom flowing along the stream in the grounds of the Palace of the Crown Prince.
eda yori mo ada ni tirinisi Fana nareba otitemo midu no awa to koso nare From the branch Have simply scattered These blossoms, so they are Fallen, yet the waters’ Foam have they become.
Sugano no Takayo
sonarematsu eda ni nishiki no kakareru wa kozudau tsuta no momiji narikeri Twisted pines upon the shore Have branches with brocade All draped Trailing from tree to tree, the ivy Has turned scarlet.
Minamoto no Kanemasa
sakitaru pagi pa
koto na tae so ne On Kasuga Plain
Blooms bush clover;
One branch is
Yet in bud, it seems;
Let its words cease not!
wa ga mi yamagi no
tsuranaru eda mo
ari to koso kike In despair
Am I: hidden among the mountain trees
Is my love;
Though once branches lay atop each other
I did hear…
namida ni wa
uki fukayamagi mo
oki tsu kojima no
hisaki naranedo Among my tears,
Drift, despairing, trees from the mountain deeps,
Rotting all away, though
On islets in the offing
On bush-covered beaches, they are not…
Both Left and Right state: we find no faults.
In judgement: both Left and Right use the image of ‘trees from the mountain deeps’ (
fukayamagi), and neither is superior, or inferior, to the other in this, but I would have to say that the Left’s ‘though once branches lay atop each other I did hear…’ ( tsuranaru eda mo ari to koso kike) is somewhat better than the Right’s ‘on bush-covered beaches, they are not…’ ( hisaki naranedo).
naka ni wa eda mo
kimi ga kozue wa
iya’ochi ni shite Joined in love
Branches meet and
Twine together, they say, yet
As the treetops, you fail to come
Again, and yet again.
kokoro ni kimi o
shibashi mo yoso ni
omowasu mogana Unknown to all
My heart to you
Inclines among the oaks;
For just a while, as a stranger
I would you not think of me…
The Gentlemen of the Right state: ‘again, and yet again’ (
iya’ochi) does not sound pleasant. The Gentlemen of the Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.
In judgement: the Left’s poem, having the conception of intertwined branches is pleasant, but ‘treetops at my house’ (
yado no kozue) would be normal, so I wonder about ‘as the treetops, you fail to come’ ( kimi ga kozue)? In the Right’s poem, although ‘among the oaks; for just a while’ ( narashiba no shibashi) is commonplace, it is still more elegant than ‘again and yet again’.
shiguretsutsu fuku yama kaze ni shiishiba no eda wa nabikedo iro wa kawarazu Showers mixed with Gusting mountain winds The brushwood Branches bend down yet They show no change of hue.
Minamoto no Kanemasa
yamadi mo sirazu
eda ni mo Fa ni mo
yuki no Furereba The leg-wearying
Mountain paths I cannot tell:
For on the white oak
Branches, and on the leaves
Snow has fallen…
sakura ni mo
sora sae kesa wa
saka yamo hiseri When even the cherry
With the peach
The very skies this morning
Have reproached them for it!
Minamoto no Shunrai