Tag Archives: kane

Love V: 4

Left (Win).

kimi yue ni
itou mo kanashi
kane no koe
yagate wa ga yo mo
fukenishi mono o
For lack of you, I am
In sorrow and despite;
The tolling of the bell reveals
That so swiftly has my life
Reached its eventide…

A Servant Girl.


te ni toru hodo mo
omoiki ya
kari ni mo koi o
shiga no yamabito
A jewelled broom
I’ll take in hand now,
Could that have been my thought?
Briefly in love now as
The old man of Shiga Mountain!


The Right state: we wonder about the appropriateness of ‘swiftly’ (yagate). The Left state: should one mention a monk in a poem about Love?

In judgement: the configuration of the Left’s ‘In sorrow and despite; the tolling of the bell’ (itou mo kanashi kane no koe) sounds pleasant, so ‘swiftly’ does not seem unsuited. The Left wins.


Love IV: 20

Left (Win).

tamahoko no
michi yukibito mo
kokoro arite
kon to tanomeyo
kono yūke ni wa
Jewelled spear straight
The road for this traveller:
If he longs for me,
Let it say, ‘Come with me!’,
This evening’s fortune!

Lord Kanemune.


au koto o
tanomuru kure to
iriai no kane mo
‘We will meet,
On that you can rely, at dusk,’
He made me think, so
The sunset bell, too,
Does seem full of joy!

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.

The Right state: evening fortune-telling and crossroad divination are different things. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults.

In judgement: both evening fortune-telling and crossroad divination are conducted in the evening, and with either one could wish ‘Let it say, “Come with me!”’ (kon to tanomeyo), so this does not seem to be a mistake does it? The Right has the fault of having both ‘We will meet’ (au koto o) and ‘sunset bell, too’ (iriai no kane mo). The Left should win.

Love IV: 5


omokage mo
wakare ni kawaru
kane no oto ni
narai kanashiki
shinonome no sora
That your face
Is transformed to parting
By the bell’s toll:
How sad this custom
From the eastern skies!

Lord Sada’ie.

Right (Win).

akatsuki no
namida ya semete
sode ni ochikuru
kane no oto kana
At dawn, are
My tears, forced to be
Like them?
Falling on my sleeves:
The tolls of the bell!


The Right state: the sense of the Left’s poem is difficult to grasp on hearing. The Left state: the expression ‘forced to be’ (semete) seems out of place in the context of the Right’s poem.

In judgement: The Left’s poem, just as was said of Kisen’s poetry – that it was ‘obscure of diction and indefinite from beginning to end’  – seems to be in just such a style. The Right’s poem, while it does not, in fact, sound like a suitable context for ‘forced to be’ (semete), provides a profound conception in ‘falling on my sleeves’ (sode ni ochikuru). The Right should win.

Love IV: 3


kinuginu ni
ima ya naran mo
aramashi ni
awanu toko sae
oki zo yararenu
The time to dress, and part
Is now and
So it must be,
Even from my lonely bed
I find I cannot rise…

Lord Suetsune.


akenu tote
wakareshi sora no
kane no oto wa
otozururu sae
urameshiki kana
Dawn has come and
Our parting to the skies
The bells do sound;
That they have rung –
I hate it!


Left and Right both have nothing particular to say.

In judgement: One would have no reason to force oneself from a ‘lonely bed’ (awanu toko) would one [shiite okubekarazu ya]? The Right’s ‘that they have rung’ (otozururu sae) sounds insufficient
[orokani kikoyu]. So, the round should tie.

Love II: 16

Left (Win).


tanomenu kane wa
nanafu sabishiki
tofu no sugagomo
Night has fallen,
Untrustworthy, the bell
Tolls – an absent vistor’s
Seven layers lie empty
Of ten layers of woven sedge blanket.

Lord Ari’ie.




kyō tote mo
uki ni tanomi wa
matsu tote yasuki
mono’omoi ka wa
I thought that today
My despair
To trust would change, yet
While waiting, calmness
Is farthest from my thoughts…



Left and Right both state: we find no faults.

Shunzei’s judgement: the Left, commencing with ‘night has fallen’ (fukenikeri) and continuing with ‘seven layers lie empty’ (nanafu sabishiki) is elegant [yū]. It should win.

Love II: 13



iriai no
oto ni tsukete mo
neyo to no kane ni
For the sunset bell’s
Have I waited, and
Thought to go to sleep, but a further chime
Leaves me distraught.



Right (Win).


yoi no kane o
kikisugusu dani
kurushiki ni
tori no ne o naku
sode no ue kana
The night’s bells
I hear, in passing, but
More painful is
The birdsong falling
Upon my sleeves…



The Gentlemen of the Right state: in the Left’s poem the use of ‘have I waited’ (matareshi) gives the impression that the wait has been very long, indeed! In addition, ‘thought to go to sleep, but a further chime’ (neyo to no kane) is unsatisfactory. ‘Sunset bell’ (iriai no oto) and ‘sleep, but a further chime’ (neyo to no kane) – both these expressions have the same meaning. The Gentlemen of the Left state: in the Right’s poem ‘painful’ (kurushiki ni) sounds weak.

Shunzei’s judgement: the statement by the Gentlemen of the Right concerning ‘sunset bell’ and ‘sleep, but a further chime’ is correct. As for the faults of the Right’s poem, using painful or ‘sorrowful’ (wabishi) forcefully certainly does not sound weak. Having said, ‘I hear, in passing, but’ (kikisugusu dani) makes it more painful. The final line sounds charming. Thus, the Right wins.

Love II: 5

Left (Win).


toshi mo henu
inoru chigiri wa
onoe no kane no
yoso no yūgure
Years have gone by,
Praying that our bond should be, but
On Mount Hatsuse
The bell of Onoe
Tolls only distant dusk…

Lord Sada’ie.



sode no tameshi to
narine to ya
hito o ukita no
mori no shime
‘All rotted through
Your sleeves
Should be,’ is that your word?
She is heartless as Ukita’s
Sacred grove’s boundary cords…



The Gentlemen of the Left and Right both state that they find no faults worth mentioning with the opposing poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: the style of both poems seems pleasant [fūtei wa yoroshiku miehaberu], but the conception contained in the Left’s poem is not fully expressed by its diction. The Right’s rotted sleeves should be ‘like the sacred grove’s boundary cord’ (mori no shimenawa no tameshi to ya), but the poet makes his own sleeves the focus. This reference to ‘sacred grove’s boundary cord’ also sounds somewhat impious. ‘The bell of Onoe’ should win.

Love I: 16

Left (Win).


na ni tateru
otowa no taki mo
oto ni nomi
kiku yori sode no
nururu mono ka wa
The name is known:
Otowa Falls
Sounds forth; and just
Hearing that
Is enough to soak my sleeves? Surely not!

Lord Ari’ie.




shika no ne mo
arashi no taguu
kane no oto mo
kiku yori koso wa
sode wa nureshika
The braying of the stags, and
With the storm wind
The tolling bells:
Hearing alone
Does soak my sleeves.



The Gentlemen of the Right state: there is nothing worth mentioning in the Left’s poem. The Gentlemen of the Left state: using ne (‘braying’) and oto (‘sound’) in the same poem is a fault [yamai].

Shunzei’s judgement: Both poems are tasteful in form [utazama wa yū] , but the Right’s does contain a fault, as the Left have stated. Thus, the Left should win.

Winter II: 24



neya no fusuma no
hedate ni mo
hibiki wa kawaru
kane no oto kana
Drawn up beneath
The covers in my bedchamber, and
With them between
The echo is somehow different
When the bells chime…

Lord Sada’ie.


Right (Win).


yuki no yo no
omou bakari mo
saenu koso
neya no fusuma no
shirushi narikere
It is a snowy night
I know, yet
There is no chill:
The covers in my bedchamber
Have that effect!



The Gentlemen of the Right state: why have the ‘bell’ (kane) here? The Gentlemen of the Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults.

Shunzei’s judgement: the Left’s poem, having the poet buried beneath his bedclothes, which alter the sound of the bell recollects a composition on the ‘bell at the Temple of Bequeathed Love’. Nevertheless, the Gentlemen of the Right have asked, ‘Why have the bell here?’, and they are right to do so. The Right’s poem, on how the feeling of cold on a chill, snowy night vanishes briefly, exactly conveys the ‘bedding’s effect’ (fusuma no shirushi). Thus, it is without fault. I must make the Right the winner.