na ni shi owaba shiite tanomamu ominaeshi hito no kokoro no aki wa uku tomo
If the name fits, then Strongly, would I ask you, Maidenflower: Though folk’s full hearts In autumn, be cruel…
aki no yo o hitori netaramu ama no kawa fuchise tadorazu iza watarinamu
On an autumn night, I sleep alone, it seems, for To the River of Heaven’s Depths and shallows I will not make my way— However can I cross them?
Shinchokusenshū 242; also a minor variant occurs in Kokin rokujō (3368) なにしおはばしひてたのまんをみなへし花の心の秋はうくともna ni shi owaba / shiite tanomamu / ominaeshi / hana no kokoro no / aki wa uku tomo ‘If the name fits, then / Forcefully, would I trust you, / Maidenflower: / Though a flower’s heart / In autumn, be cruel…’ Tsurayuki.
The Right state: the Left’s poem is fine. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.
In judgement: both poems are certainly by men entranced by thoughts of player-girls. The configuration and diction of ‘are his sleeves as mine?’ (sode wa mono ka wa) and ‘would I fall in love?’ (kouru mono ka wa) are both not unpleasant. Thus, I make this a tie.
In judgement: both Left and Right mention ‘a crane calling for her chick’ (ko o omou tsuru). This would appear to be after the conception of the pentachord in Bai’s Works: ‘The third and fourth strings are chill, and at night a crane, loving her chick, calls from her cage.’ This is not the usual zither with seven strings, but it is certainly also a kind of zither. In the topic ‘On Zithers’ there is certainly no issue with alluding to Japanese zithers or Chinese ones, is there? In any case, neither poem seems greatly inferior or superior, so the round ties.
odae no hashi to
nao hito shirezu
To the broken bridge of Odae
Have we come, yet
Still, unknown to all,
Might our love make a crossing?
The Gentlemen of the Right state: we wonder about the purpose of ‘fallen leaves swept along’ (ko no ha furishiku) in the Left’s poem. The Gentlemen of the Left state: the Right’s poem is pedestrian.
In judgement: Both the poems of the Left and of the Right use ‘bridge of Odae’ (odae no hashi) which is tasteful. The Left’s ‘fallen leaves swept along’ must be following Ise Monogatari. The gentlemen of the Right must surely be pretending ignorance! The poem of the Right, too, has an elegant total configuration, but ‘unknown to all’ (hito shirezu) is at odds with the emotional overtones. Thus the Left’s ‘fallen leaves swept along the autumn paths back and forth’ is better. I make it the winner.