Tag Archives: mugwort

Love II: 17

Left (Win).


yomogyū no
sueba no tsuyu no
nao kono yo ni to
matan mono ka wa
From the mugwort
Leaf-tips, the dewdrops
Have all vanished;
Yet within this world
Can I wait on…?

A Servant Girl.




tanome to ya
tanomeshi yoi no
fukuru koso
katsugatsu kawaru
kokoro narikere
‘Believe in me’
And so I did, but
Night goes on
And, indeed,
His heart has changed!



Left and Right state: the contents of both poems are fine.

Shunzei’s judgement: the conception and configuration of both poems is elegant, and the Left’s ‘from the mugwort leaf-tips, the dewdrops’ (yomogyū no sueba no tsuyu) sounds fine. The Left should win.

Autumn III: 22



mushi no ne no
yowaru mo shiruku
asajū ni
kesa wa samukeku
hadare shimo furu
The insects’ cries
Have plainly weakened;
Cogon grass, where
On this chilly morning
Patchy frost has fallen.

Lord Ari’ie.




omou yori
mata aware wa
tsuyu ni shimo oku
niwa no yomogyū
I feel
Yet more sadness
Laid upon me:
Upon the dew has frost fallen
In my tangled mugwort garden…



The Right find no fault with the Left’s poem. The Left wonder about the appropriateness of ‘upon the dew has frost fallen’ (tsuyu ni shimo oku).

The Right respond, ‘This refers to when frost falls upon something where dew has already fallen.’ In reply, the Left say, ‘Surely, it is when both of them fall together. We do wonder about frost falling on top of dew.’

Shunzei’s judgement: The Left’s poem has an unclear link between its initial and final sections. On the matter of the Right’s ‘frosty dew’, this has the same sense as in the Right’s poem in the previous round. The dew has frozen into frost, surely? However, as the Left’s poem is not worthy of a victory, the round must tie.

Autumn III: 20



iro kawaru
oshi no kegoromo
kesa mizu wa
furu tomo shiraji
aki no tsuyujimo
Colours changing on
The mandarin duckdown:
If I see it not this morning,
I’ll not know that has fallen:
Autumn’s frosty dew!





shimo sayuru
yomogi ga shita no
koe mo kareno ni
nari ya shinuran
Frozen by frost,
Beneath the tangled mugwort
Has the cricket’s
Chirp wearied as the withered fields

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right say, ‘It sounds as if the Left cannot see frost, unless it’s on a mandarin duck’s down!’
The Left respond, ‘There is the poem ‘the down-clad ducks come to my mind’ (kamo no uwage o omoi koso yare). If one composes a poem about one thing, that’s what one is composing about. As for what the Right have to say in their poem, if one is listening to a cricket’s chirp, how can it be withering away? Dubious! [fushin]’

Shunzei’s judgement: I must say I am doubtful myself about saying frosty dewfall changes the colour of ‘mandarin duckdown’ (oshi no kegoromo). In the Right’s poem, saying, ‘the cricket’s chirp’ (kirigirisu no koe) ‘the withered fields become’ (kareno ni nari ya shinuran) sounds as if one cannot hear it at all. The Left’s use of ‘dew’ (tsuyu), too, seems pointless. The Right has an elegant [yū naru] initial section, but the diction in the final section is dubious [shūku no kotoba fushin ni kikoyu]. I make the round a tie.

Autumn I: 29



kinō made
yomogi ni tojishi
shiba no to mo
nowaki ni haruru
oka no be no sato
Until yesterday
Sealed by mugwort was
This brushwood door;
Swept clear by the gale
The hills around my dwelling.

A Servant Girl.




kari ni sasu
iori made koso
nowaki ni taenu
ono no shinohara
Roughly thatched,
Even my hut
Has blown away:
Unable to endure the gales
Amongst the arrow bamboo groves…



Both teams say they can appreciate the sentiment of the opposing team’s poem.

Shunzei agrees: ‘Both the Left’s “hills around my dwelling” (oka no be no sato) and the Right’s “arrow bamboo groves” (ono no shinohara) are charming. “Sealed by mugwort was this brushwood door; swept clear by the gale” (yomogi ni tojishi shiba no to mo nowaki ni haruru) and “Even my hut has blown away: unable to endure the gales” (iori made koso nabikikere nowaki ni taenu) have no failings in form between them. Thus, the round ties.’