In judgement: the poem of the Left has ‘unconnected with fishing diver-girls at Shiga would I seem?’ (yoso ni ya wa tsuri suru shiga no ama o min) and the poem of the Right has ‘floating upon my heart is a diver-girl’s fishing boat!’ (kokoro ni ukabu ama no tsuribune): both have profound conception and their diction sounds pleasant, so it is difficult to divide them into superior and inferior works. Thus, I make this a tie.
The Right state: ‘for a single night you lent’ is grating on the ear. In addition, we wonder about the appropriateness of the final section. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no particular faults to mention.
In judgement: the Left’s ‘estate of Nogami’ (nogami no sato), and the Right’s ‘a hut in Nogami’ (nogami no io), then saying ‘entwined’ (musubitekeru) and ‘the sky is filled with darkness’ (kurekata no sora) – both poems have significant conception, but how should the initial section of the Right’s poem – ‘my despite has no place to go’ (uramubeki kata koso nakere) be understood? If it was a sky filled with light, then one would feel despite, but in the evening she would be lending her hut, surely. There is nothing unusual about the conclusion of the Left’s poem. It should win.
The Right state: the Left’s poem is mundane. The Left state: what does it mean that a flute is used to lying by a pillow?
In judgement: the Left’s poem has ‘for the flute next door has ceased to play’ (tonari no fue mo fukiyaminu nari), but I wonder if this should not be ‘for the flute next door will cease to play’ (tonari no fue mo fukiyamu). In the rhapsody which Xiang Xu wrote on thinking of times long gone, he says this about a neighbour playing an old flute, ‘Next door, there is a man who plays the flute. The sound emerges, echoing clear,’ without any suggestion that he has stopped playing, so I wonder how appropriate it is in this poem to say that the playing has stopped. The diction of the Right’s poem, ‘by my pillow use to be’ (makura ni nareshi) seems fine. Thus, the Right wins.
The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults we can mention. The Gentlemen of the Left state: our feelings are the same as those of the Right
In judgement: both Left and Right are on ‘crickets’ (kirigirisu) and their configuration and diction sound equally elegantly beautiful. I feel that the Right, with ‘deep in dew and sad, I wish you were’ (tsuyu fukaki aware o omoe), is somewhat lacking in the conception of the poet’s own love, but the Left, with ‘I alone am wringing out my sleeves, I feel’ (ware nomi shiboru sode ka to omou ni), has an excellent conception of love, so I must state that the Left is the winner.
In judgement: the Left starts with ‘My home I left in floods’ (furusato ni ideshi ni masaru) and concludes with ‘the wild wind round my pillow breaks us apart in dreams’ (arashi no makura yume ni wakarete) – this is a form of words the quality of which I am entirely unable to convey with my own clumsy expressions, but the Right’s ‘O moonlight, sinking toward the mountains round the capital’ (miyako no yama ni kakaru tsukikage) is awash with a sense of tears, so it is most unclear which should win or lose. Both truly seem to reflect the conception of this topic ‘Love and Travel’ well. The poems have been so good every round that my brush is drenched with this old man’s tears, and I can find no other way to express it.
The Right state: the Left’s poem seems fine. The Left state: we find no faults to mention.
In judgement: the Right’s ‘the path of dreams gets more distant’ (yumeji mo tōki) sounds elegant, but the Left’s poem has already been assessed as ‘fine’ in the comments by the gentlemen of the Right. This round I will leave the judgement in their hands and make the Left the winner.