Tag Archives: koromode

Love I: 19



nakanaka ni
mirume bakari wa
tsui ni aumi no
umi to tanomeyo
‘Tis not enough to
Merely catch a glimpse of you;
‘Tis hard, but
Finally for a meeting
By the sea must be my hope.

Lord Ari’ie.


Right (Win).


isaribi no
honomiteshi yori
koromode ni
isobe no nami no
yosenu hi zo naki
Since by fisher fires
Dim light I glimpsed you,
Upon my sleeves
Waves upon a rocky shore
Have broken, every day.

Lord Tsune’ie.


Both teams say the other team’s poem sounds ‘extremely cliched’ [furikusaritari].

Shunzei’s judgement: ‘The gentlemen of both sides have stated that the opposing poem sounds clichéd. This is, indeed, a most perceptive judgement! Poems which use non-standard poetic diction [utakotoba ni mo aranu utadomo] often sound clichéd, do they not? However, given that the Left concludes ‘for a meeting by the sea must be my hope’ (aumi no umi to tanomeyo), it was unnecessary to mention mirume being difficult to obtain. Simply saying that it would be ‘absent’ [nashi] is what would be clichéd, surely? In any case, isaribi seems slightly superior.

Winter II: 6

Left (Tie).


kumo fukaki
mine no asake no
ika naran
maki no to shiramu
yuki no hikari ni
Deep within the clouds,
Morning to the peaks must come,
But how? I wonder,
With whitening round my cedar door,
Brightened by the snow…

A Servant Girl.




koromode samushi
ariake no
tsuki yori nokoru
mine no shirayuki
Gazing on,
How chill my sleeves;
The dawntime
Moon will linger less than
The snowfall on the peaks…



Both teams say they find the other’s poem moving.

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s poem has ‘deep snow’ (yuki fukaki), ‘whitening round my cedar door’ (maki no to shiramu), and the Right has ‘the dawntime moon will linger less than’ (ariake no tsuki yori nokoru) – the conception and diction of both are splendid [kokoro kotoba tomo ni yoroshiku koso haberumere]. It seems to me that is exactly how winter mornings are. Thus, it is difficult to say which is better. This must be a good tie [yoki ji].

Autumn I: 3

Left (Tie).


aki kaze no
fuki mo tsuyoranu
natsu no keshiki ni
nao kaeru kana
The autumn wind
Blows with such little strength that
The field of arrowroot
To its summer scene
Has yet returned.

Lord Ari’ie.


Right (Tie).


aki kitemo
mada hitoenaru
koromode ni
itowanu hodo no
kaze zo fukunaru
Autumn has come, and yet
For my still single-layered
There is no respite in
The breath of wind



The Right state, ‘The expression “little strength” (tsuyoranu) is particularly grating on the ear.’ The Left respond, ‘And what are we really to make of the expression, “no respite in the breath of wind” (itowanu hodo no kaze)? Even in “O, blow my cares away,/First breeze of Autumn!” (kokorosite Fuke aki no Fatukaze), one does not get a sense of dislike for the wind. Furthermore, the core sense of the poem seems inappropriately chilly for the topic.’

Shunzei’s judgement is that, ‘the criticisms of both teams have merit. The Left’s “little strength” is as stated. As for the spirit of the Right’s poem, does not “O, blow my cares away” (kokorosite Fuke) mean that the coolness brings no respite? While the spirit of “Lingering Heat” certainly contains the key sense that things have become slightly cooler, as I said in the last round. In any case, this round is a tie.’

Winter 49

Left (Tie).


iwau mimuro no
toshi furite
nao yū kakuru
matsu no shirayuki
Upon the hallowed,
Celebrated shrine
Year piles on year;
Even now sacred cords hang,
Like snow upon the pines.




koromode samuku
furu yuki ni
yūyami shiranu
yama no ha no tsuki
Gazing into space
My sleeves grow chill
With fallen snow;
The dark of night is all unknown,
The moon on the distant mountains’ edge.