Tag Archives: mine


On a night when the Ise Vestal was conducting the Kōshin rite at the shrine in the fields, she composed this on the topic of the wind in the pines sounding a zither’s strings when blowing at night.


koto no ne ni
mine no matukaze
idure no wo yori
sirabe someken
The zither’s strains
With wind from pines atop the peak
Do sound;
Which string is it
That may start me on my way?

The Ise Vestal Consort 斎宮女御
[Princess Yoshiko/Kishi 徽子女王] (929-985)

Love V: 16


omoi koso
chishima no oku o
ezo kayowasanu
tsubo no ishibumi
My love
Has not the Thousand Islands
Barring it, yet
The barbarians cannot pass
The Stone at Tsubo – nor can I write to you!


Right (Win).

kokoro ikue no
mine koete
shinobu no oku o
Dwelling on you,
My heart numberless
Peaks will cross
To the depths of Shinobu,
Perhaps to visit someone hidden there?


As the previous round.

In judgement: the Left’s ‘Thousand Islands’ (chishima) is a familiar expression from the past, but I do not recall it being used in poetry. I am familiar with the Right’s ‘depths of Shinobu’ (shinobu no oku), so that is better. Again, the Right wins.

Love V: 13

Left (Tie).

kokoro no koi o
shirube nite
mada minu mine o
ikue koyuran
Crossing distances, with
Our hearts’ love
As a guide;
How many unseen peaks
Must I yet cross…

Lord Ari’ie.


hodo o kiku ni mo
kokoro no michi zo
mazu mayoinuru
The distance I must travel:
When I ask how far it is,
More and more
Does my heart upon the path
Begin by wandering lost.

Lord Takanobu.

The Right state: we wonder about the appropriateness of the expression ‘our hearts’ love’ (kokoro no koi)? The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.

In judgement: the Left’s ‘our hearts’ love’ is something I am completely unaccustomed to hearing. The Right’s poem does have ‘my heart upon the path’ (kokoro no michi), but the use of ‘more and more’ (itodoshiku) means it is difficult to make it a winner. The round should tie.

SKS V: 164

Composed for the Poetry Competition held at the Residence of the Former Uji Grand Minister in Chōgen 8 [1035].


kimi ga yo Fa
sirakumo kakaru
tukubane no
mine no tuduki no
umi to naru made
My Lord’s reign:
White clouds cling
To the peak of Tsukuba;
Until those very heights
Shall sink into the sea!


Love II: 30

Left (Win).


wasureji no
chigiri o tanomu
wakare kana
sora yuku tsuki no
sue o kazoete
Not to forget
I promised – trust that
On our parting.
The moon’s transit through the sky
Is the number of our meeting.

A Servant Girl




kaze fukaba
mine ni wakaren
kumo o dani
arishi nagori no
katami to mo miyo
If the wind should blow,
Parting from the peak,
Even the clouds
My memories
Seem to represent!



The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem is most moving. The Right’s poem, the Gentlemen of the Left state, is fine.

Shunzei’s judgement: the Left’s poem has one counting to the end of the moon’s transits through the sky, while the Right has clouds parting from a mountain peak being the poet’s thoughts given form. Both poems are elegant in configuration and diction, but the Right’s ‘even the clouds’ (kumo ni dani) does not fit with the ending. The Left maintains its connections from beginning to end. Thus, I make it the winner.

Love I: 7

Left (Win).


kumoiru mine no
hatsu shigure
ko no ha wa shita ni
iro kawarutomo
O, let it not leak out!
Though the cloud-capped peaks’
First shower of rain,
On the leaves’ underside
Has left a change of hue

A Servant Girl.




neya no uchi wa
namida no ame ni
shinobu wa shigeru
tsuma ni zo arikeru
Within my bedchamber
A rain of tears
Has rotted all, so
The weeping ferns secretly grow thick
Around the edges…

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem has no defects worth criticising. The Gentlemen of the Left state: the initial and final sections of the Right’s poem lack connection with each other. Does the poem have a conception of hiddenness?

Shunzei’s judgement: The conception and configuration of the Left’s ‘cloud-capped peaks’ first shower of rain’ (kumoiru mine no hatsu shigure) seems charming [kokoro sugata okashiku mie]. On that basis, it should win.