Neither team has any criticisms to make of the other’s poem in this round.
Shunzei comments that both poems are simply and beautifully constructed in both form and phrasing, and the final two lines of both poems are equally charming. He feels, though, that the beginning of the Right’s poem would have been improved if, instead of ‘a branch of plum’ (ume ga e), which focuses the audience’s attention on the branch, and not the blossom, it had begun ‘Is the plum beneath my eaves’ (noki no ume), instead. In addition, while reluctant to discount ‘outside my window this dawn’ (mado no akebono), he cannot help but feel that ‘the moon, this springtime night’ (haru no yo no tsuki) is a more superlative conclusion, and so has to award victory to the Left.
In this round the Right team have no criticisms to make of the Left’s poem, but the Left query beginning a poem with ‘memento’, as the audience then immediately wonder, ‘A memento of what?’
Shunzei comments that the Left’s poem starts extremely well, but that, even though ‘in sight’ (nagame kana) has been frequently used in poetry recently, its spirit has yet to be fully determined, and so including it here must be considered a mistake. Furthermore, the concluding line, ‘snowfall with the dawning’ (yuki no akebono), has also been much used in recent poetry. As for the Right’s poem, he feels it ends extremely well, but echoes the criticism of the Left about the beginning. Thus, the best result for this round is a tie.
The Right team state that the final line of the Left’s poem is ‘grating on the ear’, but that otherwise they can find nothing wrong with it. Shunzei remarks somewhat testily, that they are pre-empting his role as judge, but broadly agrees, finding the central image of snow ‘sealing the sky’ particularly fine. He finds the Right’s poem problematic in that ‘haze spreads’ in the middle of spring, and this poem is supposed to be describing the season’s beginning – it should be ‘haze rises’ (kasumi tatsu), and there is nothing remarkable about the rest of it. Thus, he awards the round to the Left.