From a poetry contest at Sadafun’s house.
mine Fa moe Fumoto Fa koForu FuzigaFa no ware mo ukiyo wo sumi zo waduraFu At the peak it burns and At the foot does freeze: The Fuji River, just as I, too, in this cruel world Live and suffer.
This is the sole surviving poem from ‘
Sadafumi’s Poetry Contest‘.
fuji no yama ori’iru kumo wa tachinobori keburi no yagate naru ni ya aruran From the mount of Fuji Descending, the clouds Rise again, and At last into smoke Do they turn, I wonder?
Composed when people stopped to view the wisteria blooming at his house.
wa ga yado ni sakeru Fudinami tatikaFeri sugigate ni nomi Fito no miruran At my house Bloom wisteria waves, Breaking and returning; Simply impossible to pass by Folk find the sight, it seems.
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…
tiyo wo kaketaru
iki no matu koso
omoFiyararure I shall pray on across
A thousand generations
Of wisteria waves with
The pines of Iki
Ever in my thoughts.
Fujiwara no Tamemasa
kokoro no sora ni
miseba ya fuji no
mine ni magaete I can bear no more:
Into the heavens of my heart
I would show her it is of Fuji’s
Peak an image!
A Servant Girl.
fuji no ne no
kemuri mo nao zo
ue naki mono wa
omoi narikeri The peak of Fuji:
Higher than the highest is
The Right state: we wonder about the meaning of ‘heavens of my heart’ (
kokoro no sora). In reply, the Left: this is the same conception as the poem ‘into the heavens of my heart emerges the moon’. In reply, the Right: what is the point in using the smoke from Fuji as a metaphor? It seems as if the focus of the poem is the smoke. Furthermore, why have smoke rising in your heart without the smoke of passion? The Left state: the Right’s poem seems good.
In judgement: the Gentlemen of the competition seems to have sagaciously criticised the faults of the Left’s poem, but ‘I would show her it is of Fuji’s peak an image!’ (
miseba ya fuji no mine ni magaete) is charming in configuration and diction. The Right’s poem, too, in the final section is elegant in configuration. However, I must make the Left the winner.
mi no hodo o
shiranu wa koi no
kemuri narikeri From that cruel one’s
I am, all
Unknowing of love’s
koisuru hito ya
fuji no ne no
taenu keburi to
moehajimeken Long ago, in such
Love did folk as
The peak of Fuji
With everlasting smoke
Begin to burn?
The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office.
The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults. The Left state: the Right’s poem is pedestrian.
In judgement: the Left’s ‘cruel one’ (
ukibito) and the Right’s ‘folk in love’ ( koisuru hito) should tie.
On the morning when the messengers departed for the extraordinary Kamo Festival, she sent this to the Principal Wife of the Minister of the Left attached to the flowers used to decorate their hair.
kamo no kaFabe no
toki no naki kana Puissant
Kamo’s river shore by
Wisteria waves is
Never will you be!
When she was asked to send something to the house of a man.
Faru Fi sasu
Fudi no uraba
kimi si omoFaba
ware mo tanoman Spring sun shines on
The wisteria’s underleaves;
You do think of me, then
I, too, will grant my trust.