Tag Archives: momoshiki

MYS III: 257

A poem on Mount Kagu by Kamo no Taruhito.

天之芳来山 霞立 春尓至婆 松風尓 池浪立而 櫻花 木乃晩茂尓 奥邊波 鴨妻喚 邊津方尓 味村左和伎 百礒城之 大宮人乃 退出而 遊船尓波 梶棹毛 無而不樂毛 己具人奈四二

天降りつく 天の香具山 霞立つ 春に至れば 松風に 池波立ちて 桜花 木の暗茂に 沖辺には 鴨妻呼ばひ 辺つ辺に あぢ群騒き ももしきの 大宮人の 退り出て 遊ぶ船には 楫棹も なくて寂しも 漕ぐ人なしに

ame no kaguyama
kiri tatu
paru ni itareba
matukaze ni
ikenami tatite
ko no kuresige ni
okipe ni pa
kamo tuma yobapi
petupe ni
adi murasawagi
momosiki no
opomiyabito no
asobu pune ni pa
kadisawo mo
nakute sabusi mo
kogu pito nasi ni
Descended from heaven is
Sacred Mount Kagu where
Mists arise
When the spring does come,
The wind through the pines
Raises waves from pond waters, and
Cherry blossom’s
Profusion shades the trees, while
Out in the offing,
Ducks call for a mate and
On the shore
Teals flock noisily;
The palace folk were wont to
Travel out
On pleasure boats, but
Oars and poles
Are there none—so sad—
For there’s not a soul to row them…

Spring I: 30

Left (Tie).


momoshiki ya
ite hiku niwa no
azusa yumi
mukashi ni kaeru
haru ni au kana
Hundred fold, the palace, where
Archer draw, within the gardens
Bows of catalpa wood:
Olden times are recalled
And meet again, this springtime.

Lord Sada’ie


Right (Tie).


azusa yumi
haru no kumoi ni
keshiki kotonaru
kyô no morobito
Catalpa bows:
In springtime to the cloud-borne palace
They are brought;
How exceptional the scene:
A crowd of noble folk, this day.



The Right query why in the Left’s poem an annual festival should ‘recall olden times’, to which the Right respond that it is normal to compose poems about annual observances as if they had been discontinued and then revived. The Left make no comment about the Right’s poem.

Shunzei’s judgement is that, indeed, the Left’s poem had been composed as if an ancient rite had been revived and, furthermore with the reference to an ‘exceptional scene’ the intent had probably been to praise court festivals. Nevertheless, he has to adjudge the round a tie.

Spring I: 28

Left (Win).


momoshiki ni
azusa yumi
haru mo tomone no
mezurashiki kana
By the hundredfold palace
Catalpa bows:
Sprung in springtime, bowstring on bracer:
How rare the sound!

Lord Suetsune




toneriko ga
tomo uchinarasu
azusa yumi
ite hikiwataru
haru wa kinikeri
The guardsmen lads’
Bracers sound;
Catalpa bows,
Drawn by archers:
Springtime is here, indeed!

Lord Takanobu


Again, the Right team have no comments to make about the Left’s poem this round, but the Left say the initial line of the Right’s poem is ‘unsatisfactory’. Shunzei, once again, agrees, remarking that, ‘the initial line sounds like the name of the tree used when referring to adding water to an ink-stone. Again, the Left is the winner.’ What he means by this is that toneriko, ‘guardsmen lads’ was homophonous with the word for ‘ash tree’. The old Japanese extracted a wax from ash trees, which was used to ease the running of sliding doors and shutters, and so by association, toneriko was used in poetry to refer to adding water to an ink-stone so that the ink, produced in solid sticks, would slide over it more easily. This image is inappropriate for a poem about the New Year Archery festival, and so the poem is of inferior quality, compared to the Left’s offering.