Tag Archives: insects

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.

SZS IV: 256

Composed when a hundred poem sequence was presented to His Majesty, during the reign of Former Emperor Horikawa.


samazama ni
kokoro zo tomaru
miyagino no
Fana no iroiro
musi no kowegowe
So many things
Do rest within my heart:
On Miyagi plain
The multicoloured blossom and
The insects’ songs.

Minamoto no Toshiyori

This poem is also Horikawa hyakushu 1400.

GSIS IV: 270

Composed for a picture based on the Song of Everlasting Woe, for the scene where Xuanzong had returned home and the emperor was depicted weeping with insects calling from the withered cogon grass all around him.


Furusato Fa
asadi ga Fara to
yosugara musi no
ne nomi zo naku
My old home
With cogon grass is
Entirely overgrown;
All night the insects
Simply let forth their cries…


Winter I: 18

Left (Tie).


hana wa nao
sono sugata tomo
kareno wa mushi no
koe zo koshiki
The blossoms are still
By their simple shapes
Revealed, but
On this withered field the insects’
Cries are what I miss…

Lord Kanemune.




aki no iro no
utsurou nobe o
aware wa karenu
mono ni zo arikeru
Autumn’s hues
Have faded from this field
I see, but
My sorrow is something



The Right state that they are unable to understand [kokoro yukazu] the usage of ‘revealed’ (miewakaru) in the Left’s poem. The Left find no faults in the Right’s poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s use of ‘revealed’ sounds appropriate [yoroshiku kikoehaberu] in this poem, and ‘on this withered field the insects’ (kareno wa mushi) is most tasteful [yū ni koso haberumere]. The conception of the Right’s ‘Autumn’s hues have faded from this field’ (aki no iro no utsurou nobe) where ‘sorrow is evergreen’ (aware wa karenu) is most moving, indeed; the Left, too, has a find conclusion to their poem, and so with both being heartfelt [kokoro utsurite], the round should tie.

Winter I: 16

Left (Win).


shimo karuru
nohara ni aki no
kokoro no uchi ni
shika zo nakinuru
Burnt by frost
The fields autumn
Bring back to me, and
Within my heart
A stag cries out.

Lord Suetsune.




shika no oto mo
mushi mo samasama
koe taete
miyagino no hara
The sound of stags and
All the insects varied
Cries are gone;
Completely burned by frost is
The plain of Miyagino.



The Right say that the Left’s poem is ‘fine, perhaps’ [yoroshiki ka]. The Left reply that the Right’s ‘lacks any faults.’

Shunzei’s judgement: Both poems are on the topic of ‘withered fields’ and the Right has a fine final section with ‘the plain of Miyagino’ (miyagino no hara), but the initial section with ‘stags’ and ‘insects’ sounds as if the poet is enumerating members of list [kazoetatetaru yō ni ya kikoyu]. The Left, with its ‘The fields autumn bring back to me’ (nohara ni aki no shinobarete), followed by ‘Within my heart a stag cries out’ (kokoro no uchi ni shika zo nakinuru), is most fine. The Left should win.

Autumn III: 29



ariake no
na bakari aki no
tsukikage ni
mushi no koe kana
Dawn it is in
Name alone; in autumn
The moonlight is
At its faintest
As are the insects’ songs…

Lord Sada’ie.


Right (Win).


aki no nagori mo
yama no ha ni
tsuki to tomo ni ya
ariake no sora
Turning to dusk,
Is there a memento of autumn, too,
Upon the mountains’ edge
Together with the moon in
The dawning skies?



The Right question the Left’s use of ‘Dawn it is in name alone’ (ariake no na bakari). The Left find no fault with the Right’s poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: I do not feel there is anything particularly wrong with ‘name alone; in autumn’ (na bakari aki no), but the Right’s ‘Together with the moon in the dawning skies’ (tsuki to tomo ni ya ariake no sora) seems most fine [yoroshikuhaberubeshi]. Thus, the Right wins.

Autumn III: 22



mushi no ne no
yowaru mo shiruku
asajū ni
kesa wa samukeku
hadare shimo furu
The insects’ cries
Have plainly weakened;
Cogon grass, where
On this chilly morning
Patchy frost has fallen.

Lord Ari’ie.




omou yori
mata aware wa
tsuyu ni shimo oku
niwa no yomogyū
I feel
Yet more sadness
Laid upon me:
Upon the dew has frost fallen
In my tangled mugwort garden…



The Right find no fault with the Left’s poem. The Left wonder about the appropriateness of ‘upon the dew has frost fallen’ (tsuyu ni shimo oku).

The Right respond, ‘This refers to when frost falls upon something where dew has already fallen.’ In reply, the Left say, ‘Surely, it is when both of them fall together. We do wonder about frost falling on top of dew.’

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s poem has an unclear link between its initial and final sections. On the matter of the Right’s ‘frosty dew’, this has the same sense as in the Right’s poem in the previous round. The dew has frozen into frost, surely? However, as the Left’s poem is not worthy of a victory, the round must tie.