Tag Archives: Love and Prayers

Love II: 6

Left (Win).


ikuyo ware
nami ni shiorete
sode ni tama chiru
mono omouran
Nights without number will I
Drench with the waves
Of Kifune River,
Scatter jewels on my sleeves –
Should these thoughts consume me so?

A Servant Girl.




momose no nami mo
nureyuku sode no
sue o tanomite
Kifune River’s
Hundredfold waves
Have I crossed;
With soaking sleeves
Do I plead for an ending…



The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem is fine, overall. The Gentlemen of the Left state: the Right’s poem is without fault.

Shunzei’s judgement: Both Left and Right poems on ‘Kifune River’ (kifunegawa) seem tasteful [], but rather than the Right’s final ‘Do I plead for an ending’ (sue o tanomite), the Left’s ‘Scatter jewels on my sleeves’ (sode ni tama chiru) sounds particularly good. The Left must win.

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 II: 4



ishikawa ya
semi no ogawa ni
igushi tate
negishi au se wa
kami ni makasetsu
In Ishikawa
At Semi Stream
Will I plant a prayer stake;
Whether we shall meet
I entrust to the gods!



Right (Win).


sono ki no moto ni
yū kakete
koi koso watare
mitsukawa no hashi
I cannot bear this feeling, so
The base of this tree
I’ll garland
That my love may cross
The bridge over Mitsu River.



Both the Left and Right state they find no particular fault with the opposing poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: the Left’s reference to prayer stakes is pretentious, but the final section ‘I entrust to the gods!’ (kami ni makasetsu) lacks resonance. The final line of the Right’s poem sounds fine [yoroshiku kikoyu]. It should win.

Love II: 3

Left (Win).


chigiri made oba
shirazu tomo
hitoyo ga hodo mo
kami o tanoman
How long
Our bond will last
I know not, yet
For just this one night
Will I pray to the God.

Lord Suetsune.




inorigoto o
kami mo tagauru
mi nariseba
tsurakare to koso
ima wa inorame
My desire
Even the Gods do ignore –
Should that be my fate,
I will pray for pain
This time!

Lord Takanobu.


The Gentlemen of the Right state: we have nothing in particular to say about the Left’s poem. The Gentlemen of the Left state: the Right’s poem has nothing unusual in its conception, and additionally, the initial line is grating, even though this is something which has long been composed about.

Shunzei’s judgement: just as the Gentlemen of the Left have said, the Right’s poem contains too many similar expressions. The Left’s poem, while it sounds like the poet has no care beyond the present night, should win.

Love II: 2

Left (Tie).


iza saraba
ikuta no mori ni
tanomu kata naki
koi no yamai o
So, now,
To the sacred grove of Ikuta
Shall I go to pray
For this hopeless
Love’s sickness…

Lord Kanemune.




aware tomo
omoi mo ya suru
wa ga koi o
nageki no mori no
kami ni inoruran
Do you think me?
So, the grief of love
Will I burn in Nageki’s sacred grove
As an offering…

The Provisional Master of the Empress Household Office.


The Gentlemen of the Left and Right have nothing particular to say.

Shunzei’s judgement: the Left’s ‘so, now’ (iza saraba) seems pleasant. The Right’s poem has a fairly direct style. After comparison, this is a tie again.

Love II: 1

Left (Tie).


kyō wa sa wa
koi no yatsuko no
yukusue mo
tanomu mioya no
kami ni makasen
Now what
Is love’s slave
To do?
To the God of Mioya
Will he entrust is fate!

Lord Ari’ie.




morogoi ni
ima wa narinamu
migokori no
kami no shirushi mo
ari to koso kike
Our love
Now will be!
For the God of the Waters
Has given me a sign
I hear.

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Gentlemen of the Right state: a slave (yatsuko) is one who serves a master. In this poem, the word stands for a child and this is bizarre. ‘Love’s slave’ (koi no yatsuko) is simply pretentious, and in the end the poem has nothing to say. The Gentlemen of the Left state: it appears that the God of the Waters has some influence on ‘our love’. Why should that be?

Shunzei’s judgement: as the Left has ‘Love’s slave’ and the Right ‘our love’, the style of both poems is something which would be better avoided. I cannot clearly determine a winner, and must declare a tie.