Tag Archives: moss

Love VIII: 8


koi shinaba
kokemusu tsuka ni
kae furite
moto no chigiri ni
kuchi ya hatenan
Should I have died of love and
Upon my moss-hung tomb
An aged cypress be
Would those vows from long ago
Have rotted quite away?

Lord Sada’ie

Right (Win)

kaku bakari
omou to kimi mo
shirakashi ni
shiraji na iro ni
ideba koso arame
That so much
I long for you,
You know not; for what hues
Might I show?

The Supernumerary Master of the Empress Household Office

The Gentlemen of the Right state: ‘tomb’ (tsuka) and ‘cypress’ (kae) are frightening. The Gentlemen of the Left state: ‘evergreen’ (kashi) is the same, is it not?

In judgement: What might ‘upon my moss-hung tomb an aged cypress be’ (kokemusu tsuka ni kae furite) mean? Maybe the poet had in mind the part of the Scribe’s Records, where Duke Wen of Jin, on parting from his wife in Di, says, ‘If you wait for me for twenty-five years and I have still not returned, then marry again,’ but his wife laughs and says, ‘After ageing for twenty-five years, a cypress will be growing upon my tomb!’ The Right’s ‘evergreen’ (shirakashi) must simply serve to introduce to ‘you know not; for what hues might I show?’ (shiraji na iro ni ideba koso arame). However, both ‘cypress’ (kae) and ‘evergreen’ (kashi) lack admirable qualities. The round should tie.

Love III: 27


wa ga naka o
furu no arada to
tare ni yukiai no
wase tukuran
Our love
As the overgrown fields at Furu
Has been abandoned;
Who do you go to now,
To grow fresh seedlings?


Right (Win).

yama fukami
koke no shita moru
tanimizu ya
toshi heru koi no
namida naruran
Deep within the mountains
From underneath the moss leaks
Water to the valleys;
Enduring through the years are my love’s


Both teams say the poems have no fault.

In judgement: both poems seem equal in expression, but the quality of the lower section of the Left’s poem is extremely poor, so I make the Right’s ‘from underneath the moss leaks’ (koke no shita moru) the winner.

Love I: 12

Left (Win).


kono yo tsukinaba
omou koto
koke no shita ni ya
tomo ni kuchinan
Continually concealing:
Should this world end, then
My love for you
Beneath the moss,
With me, would rot away…

Lord Ari’ie.




kokoro no tare ga
toko ni yukite
ayamu bakari no
yume ni miyuran
My heart to someone’s
Bed does go;
Simply a strange
Dream, would she see?

Lord Takanobu.


The Gentlemen of both Left and Right state: the final section of the other team’s poem is not bad.

Shunzei’s judgement: while I feel that the conception and diction of both poems seems fine [sugata kotoba yoroshiku miehaberu], the Right’s heart, flitting off to someone quite plainly, seems rather frivolous. The Left’s ‘beneath the moss’ (koke no shita ni ya) closely resembles the conception of the topic. It should win.

Autumn III: 2



miru ni nao
sumamahoshiki wa
iroiro ni
tsuta hau koya no
yosome narikeri
Gazing, again
Would I dwell there:
Ivy creeping round the hut,
Seen from afar.



Right (Win).


toshi o hete
koke ni mumoruru
furu tera no
noki ni aki aru
tsuta no iro kana
The years pass by and,
Buried in moss,
The ancient temple’s
Eaves in autumn take
On ivy’s hues…



The Right say, ‘If by Koya the Left means the place Koya in the Province of Tsu, there are no other connections in the poem. If, however, it is just referring to a hut (koya), we wonder about that composition [sayō ni mo yomamu ni ya].’ The Left respond, ‘It is perfectly normal when referring to a hut, to just have “hut” in the poem! In the Right’s poem, though, “Buried, the ancient temple” (mumoruru furu tera) sounds unpleasant [kikiyokarazu].’

Shunzei’s judgement: In the Left’s poem, if it is not referring to Koya in the Province of Tsu, I have no recollection of it being normal to just refer to a hut in a poem. Even if there was an earlier poem for evidence of this, the word ‘hut’ has no connections within anything in this poem, either. The Right’s ‘buried in moss’ (koke ni mumoruru) is splendid [yū ni koso habere]. As for ‘ancient temple’ (furu tera), although it is splendid in Chinese poetry to write [shi ni kaku wa yū ni haberedo] phrases like ‘the ancient temple, situated on the mountaintop’, this is not particularly elegant in waka [uta ni wa en narazaru]. However, besides the use of koya being poor, ‘eaves in autumn’ (noki ni aki aru) sounds charming [okashiku kikoyu]. The Right must win.

Miscellaneous 82

Left (Tie).


ikuyo henu
kazashi oriken
inishie ni
miwa no hihara no
koke no kayoiji
How many ages passed?
Twigs plucked and placed in hair,
Long ago
In Miwa’s cypress groves,
Along the moss-covered paths…




mizu shirazu
uzumorenu na no
ato ya kore
tanabiki wataru
yūgure no sora
Unseen, unknown,
Of an everlasting name
This the only trace,
Trailing across
The evening sky?