Tag Archives: io

Shunzei gosha hyakushu 77


yumeji ni wa
nareshi yado miru
utsutsu nite
utsu no yamabe no
tsuta fukeru io
Upon the path of dreams
I saw a house I used to know so well;
In reality, it is
Near to Utsu Moutain,
A hut all twined with ivy…

Fujiwara no Shunzei

Autumn II: 17



ikuyo tomo
yado wa kotaezu
inaba no kaze no
aki no otozure
How many nights it’s been?
My home gives no reply;
Blowing ‘cross the field before my gates,
The wind among the rice stalks
Brings autumn calling…

Lord Sada’ie.


Right (Win).


wakite nado
io moru sode no
inaba ni kagiru
aki no kaze ka wa
Apart, and yet
Sleeves within the watchman’s hut
Are drenched;
Among none other than the rice-stalks
Is the autumn wind?



The Right state that the Left’s ‘Blowing ‘cross the field before my gates’ (kadota fuku) is grating on the ear. In addition, ‘should one really expect an answer from a house?’ The Left simply say that they find the Right’s poem ‘good’.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Gentlemen of the Right have correctly identified two faults with the Left’s poem. The Right’s poem, on the other hand, in both diction and sentiment, is extremely charming, and the final section, in particular is most profound in form. I must make it the winner.

Autumn II: 16

Left (Tie).


akita moru
shizu ga iori ni
yado karan
satemo kono yo wa
suginubeki mi zo
The autumn paddies warding,
A peasant’s hut – there
Will I find lodging;
And thus, within this world
Will I be able to spend my time!

Lord Kanemune.


Right (Tie).


yamada no io mo
aki wa nao
kokoro no hate wa
Not deep at all within
The mountain paddies is this hut, yet
Autumn, still,
My heart, to the brim,
Does fill…



The Right complain that the Left’s poem ‘appears to be expressing somewhat outré sentiments’. The Left state on the other hand that the Right’s poem is ‘not bad’.

Shunzei’s judgement: the type of emotional import expressed in the Left’s poem is superlative. In The Tales of Ise, after all, there is the section on ‘gathering fallen ears of rice’ – most charming! To say that this is outré suggests a deficiency of understanding. The Right’s poem, too, conveys an emotional message. I must wonder about the use of ‘Not deep at all within’ (fukakaranu), but still, the round should tie.

Autumn II: 15

Left (Win).


ochikochi no
io ni hita utsu
oto kikeba
katami ni moru ya
aki no oyamada
Both near and far
From huts the bird clappers sound;
Hearing it,
I wonder do they ward together
The little mountain paddies at autumn time…





kaze fukeba
yamada no io ni
inaba zo hito wo
When the wind does blow
To the mountain paddy huts
Comes the sound
Of rustling rice fronds; the folk within
Warding, wakeful, ‘til daybreak.



The Right find no fault with the Left’s poem this round. The Left wonder about the suitability of the phrase ‘folk within warding’ (hito wo moru), to which the Right respond that the expression carries the sense of wakefulness.

Shunzei’s judgement: the Left has the sound of bird clappers jointly guarding the fields, the Right, the sound of rice stirred by the autumn wind rousing folk in their huts – both poems display a particular skill in terms of form, but perhaps at the expense of feeling. Furthermore, I am unable to apprehend the Right’s ‘rice fronds; the folk within warding’. The Left wins, by a small margin.

Autumn I: 14

Left (Tie).


inazuma no
hikari ni nomi ya
tanaka no sato no
yūyami no sora
Is it lightning’s
Light alone, that
Can console?
Dwelling among the rice-fields
Beneath the blackened evening sky.



Right (Tie).


shitsu no o ga
yamada no io no
toma o arami
moru inazuma o
tomo to koso mire
A peasant in
The mountain fields, whose hut has
A rough roof of straw:
The lightning dripping in
Seems his single friend.

Lord Tsune’ie.


As with the previous round, neither team can find fault with the other’s poem.

Shunzei, however, says, ‘The initial part of the Left’s poem is fine, indeed, but one wonders where the “dwelling among the rice fields” (tanaka no sato) is. I wonder whether nowadays poets can simply refer to a house among the rice fields. I do seem to have heard it before, but for the life of me I cannot remember where. As for the Right’s poem, this, too, has a perfectly standard beginning, but then has the expression “lightning dripping” (moru inazuma) – this seems rather new-fangled to me! Both poems are about the same.’