Tag Archives: harusame

SKKS I: 65

A poem from the Poetry Contest held by the Empress Dowager during the reign of the Kanpyō emperor.


mizu no omo ni
ayaori midaru
harusame ya
yama no midori o
nabete somuran
Upon the water’s surface
A confusing pattern paints
The rain of spring—
Will it now the mountains
All dye with green, I wonder?

Ōchikōchi no Mitsune

Winter I: 20



tare mo miyo
kore wa mizore no
sora naran
chirikuru hana wa
ame ya majirishi
Behold, one and all!
This is a sleet-filled
Sky, indeed!
Flowers falling,
Mixed with rain?

Lord Suetsune.


Right (Win).


kaze wataru
hana no atari no
harusame wa
fuyu no sora ni mo
arikeru mono o
The breeze blows
Around the blossom
In spring showers;
The winter skies, too,
Have such things…



The Right wonder about the appropriateness of ‘mixed’ (majirishi). The Left complain that the Right’s poem ‘does not contain an expression from the topic [dai no ji]’ and wonder about the appropriateness of this in a poetry competition.

Shunzei’s judgement: ‘This is a sleet-filled sky, indeed!’ (kore wa mizore no sora naran) is charming, but the latter section of the poem, saying that blossoms fall during a shower is quite pedestrian [tsune no koto ni aran]. I also wonder about the appropriateness of ‘mixed with rain?’ (ame ya majirishi) as a choice of poetic diction [uta kotoba]. Having ‘Around the blossom in spring showers’ (hana no atari no harusame wa), and then ‘The winter skies, too, have such things…’ (fuyu no sora ni mo arikeru mono o) is extremely charming. Even without the explicit reference to the topic, one can certainly glimpse the sleet. The Right should win.

Spring I: 24

eft (Tie).


yuki kiyuru
kareno no shita no
kozo no kusaba ya
ne ni kaeruran
The snows are gone from off
The sere fields, and beneath,
Pale green:
Last year’s growth seems
To have returned to its roots…

A Servant Girl


Right (Tie).


harusame wa
kozo mishi nobe no
shirube ka wa
midori ni kaeru
ogi no yakehara
The gentle rains of spring:
To the fields I gazed upon last year
Do they show the way?
For greeness has returned,
To the burnt miscanthus grass…



Both teams state that the other’s poem was ‘in the same vein’.

Shunzei judges that the Left’s ‘Last year’s growth seems/To have returned to its roots’ and the Right’s ‘For greeness has returned,/To the burnt miscanthus grass’ are ‘pleasantly charming’, so neither poem can be adjudged the winner.