Tag Archives: mountain folk

Winter II: 14



yamabito no
tayori naritomo
shii no koyade wa
orazu mo aranamu
For the mountain folk
Essential they may be, but
Upon the hillside
The brushwood branches
I would have them leave unbroken…





yama fukaku
shizu no oritaku
shiishiba no
oto sae samuki
asaborake kana
Deep within the mountains
Woodsmen break and burn
The brushwood;
That sound brings the chill
To me this dawning…



The Right wonder what the intention is in the Left’s poem of regretting the breakage of ‘brushwood branches’. The Left say that the Right’s poem, ‘recalls a famous poem by one of the other gentlemen of the Right.’

Shunzei’s judgement: Simply using the old-fashioned koyade in place of the more current shiishiba does not improve the sound of the poem, I think. Starting ‘Deep within the mountains’ (yama fukaku) and then continuing ‘Woodsmen break and burn’ (shizu no oritaku) – is this supposed to convey the conception of felling trees [shiba o koru kokoro ni ya]? I hardly think that if one lived in the mountains, the sound of trees being cut and burnt would make one feel the chill. The diction of ‘deep within the mountains’ does not seem appropriate [‘yama fukaku’ no kotoba, kanai mo sezaru]. Given that it does sound old-fashioned, koyade does not sound like a winner, either. The poems are of equal quality.