Tag Archives: kokoro

KKS II: 114

Composed when it was said that a poetry competition was to be held at the residence of the Middle Captain Lady of the Bedchamber in the Ninna period.[1]

おしと思心は糸によられなん散る花ごとに貫きてとどめむ

oshi to omoFu
kokoro Fa ito ni
yorarenan
tiru Fana goto ni
nukite todomemu
If regrets
Within my heart should into threads
Be spun, then
Through every scattered blossom
Would I sew to hold them here…

Sosei


[1] It was taboo to record the personal names of noble women of high rank unless they were made empress. The Ninna 仁和 period began on the 11th day of the Third Month, 885, and lasted until the 30th day of the Fifth Month, 889. ‘Lady of the Bedchamber’ (miyasudokoro 御息所) was a title given to imperial consorts who had given birth to a prince, while ‘Middle Captain’ (chūjō 中将) was a military position in the palace guards. Contemporary readers would have been able to identify who the ‘Lady who had given birth to an imperial prince and whose father held the position of Middle Captain during the Ninna period’ was, but modern scholarship has not done so; nor have records of this poetry competition survived.

Love X: 16

Left (Win)
さざ浪や志賀津の海士になりにけりみるめはなくて袖のしほるる

sazanami ya
shigatsu no ama ni
narinikeri
mirume wa nakute
sode no shioruru
Rocked by wavelets
A fisherman at Shiga Bay
Have I become!
Glimpsing no seaweed,
How my sleeves are soaked…

Lord Suetsune
1171

Right
伊勢の海の底までかづく海人なれやみるめに人を思ふ心は

ise no umi no
soko made kazuku
ama nare ya
mirume ni hito o
omou kokoro wa
At Ise, to the sea
Bed dive
Fisher-girls: Am I one, too?
A seaweed-tangled glimpse of you
Lodging in my heart…

Jakuren
1172

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to mention. The Left state: neither beginning nor end is sufficiently forcefully expressed.

In judgement: the conception and configuration of the Left’s ‘fisherman at Shiga Bay’ (shigatsu no ama) certainly seem splendid. That is really all there is to say about this poem. To make a deliberate point of seeking out elements which sound difficult is a pointless activity for the Way of Poetry and an individual poet. As for the Right’s poem, diving ‘to the sea bed’ (soko made) is just something that fisher-girls do. The Left must win.

Love X: 11

Left (Tie)
東路や萱津の原の朝霧に起き別るらん袖はものかは

azumaji ya
kayatsu no hara no
asagiri ni
okiwakaruran
sode wa mono ka wa
On the eastern roads,
Upon the field of Kayatsu
With the morning mists
Does he rise and part, but
Are his sleeves as mine?

Lord Ari’ie
1161

Right
さまざまにうつる心も鏡山影見ぬ人を恋ふるものかは

samazama ni
utsuru kokoro mo
kagamiyama
kage minu hito o
kouru mono ka wa
Many
Hearts does she attract upon
Mirror Mount,
But with one whose face remains unseen
Would I fall in love?

Lord Takanobu
1162

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.