Tag Archives: natsu

Summer I: 11

Left (Tie).


natsuyama no
kusaba no take zo
haru mishi komatsu
hito hikazu wa
Summer in the mountains, and
The grasses reach so high, that
Had they but known
In springtime, on the glimpsed pine-seedlings
Folk would have laid no hand…

Lord Sada’ie.


Right (Tie).


michi mo naki
natsuno no kusa no
iori kana
hana ni kegaruru
niwa to mishi ma ni
Within a trackless
Summer field does my grass
Hut stand now;
While on fallen blossom staining
My garden did I rest my gaze…



The Right wonder, ‘Whether summer greenery recalls the mountains as much as it does the plains? The overall point of the poem seems difficult to grasp.’ The Left have no particular comments to make.

Shunzei states, ‘The gentlemen of the Right have already questioned the suitability of greenery in relation to mountains rather than the plains. In addition, what is one to make of blossom falling round a hut, as opposed to a mountain lodge. If the topic was “Field Lodges”, then there are some autumn blooms, but cherry and plum blossom, and the like, fail to fall that much on the plains. Thus, I would agree with the Right’s comments on the Left’s poem. The Right’s poem, though, lacks logic. The round must be a tie.’

Summer I: 10



natsu kite zo
nonaka no io wa
mado tojitekeri
noki no shitagusa
Summer has come, and
Out upon the plains, the hut
Has gone to ruin –
Windows sealed by
Grasses growing ‘neath the eaves.

Lord Ari’ie.


Right (Win).


wa ga yado no
yomogi ga niwa wa
fukashi dare
wakeyo to ka
uchi mo harawan
My dwelling’s
Garden is all overgrown
Deep as deep can be, but
With no-one to force a passage through
I’ll not sweep it back!

Lord Takanobu.


The Right have no criticisms to make of the Left’s poem. The Left, though, wonder, ‘What is the meaning of “sweep” (uchiharau) in relation to a garden?’

Shunzei comments: ‘The poems of both Left and Right are superb in configuration and diction [sugata kotoba yū ni haberi]. However, the Left, by saying “gone to ruin” (aremasaru) about a hut on the plains, gives the impression it is talking about the beginning of winter, just after the end of autumn. Furthermore, the poem also gives the impression of being composed on the topic of “Field Lodges” (notei). As for the Right, it is certainly possible to sweep away an overgrown garden, as well as the dust from one’s bed, so I see no problems with this usage. Saying “summer’s deep” is by no means unpleasant. The Right wins.”

Summer I: 9



natsukusa no
nojima ga saki no
asagiri o
wakete zo kitsuru
hagi no ha no suri
Summer grass grows high
On Nojima Point;
Through the morning mists
Have I come forging,
Robes patterned with bush-clover leaves.



Right (Win).


shigekino to
natsu mo nariyuku
fukakusa no
sato wa uzura no
bakari zo
Ever thicker grow the grasses and
With the summer’s passing, too,
At Fukakusa – deep within the greenery –
The quails
Let out not a cry – that’s all…



The Right have no criticisms to make of the Left’s poem. The Left, however, say, ‘Using “summer’s passing, too” (natsu mo) appears to suggest a foundation upon something definite. What is it, however?’ The Right reply, ‘As the source poem is “A quail I shall become and cry” (udura to narite nakiworan), the impression given is of Autumn. Thus, “summer’s passing, too”.’

Shunzei judges, ‘The Left’s poem has as its final line, “Robes patterned with bush-clover leaves” (hagi no ha no suri), and before it, where one would expect to find the reason why the poet is forging across Nojima Point, is only “summer grass” (natsukusa no). This is repetitive. The Right’s poem, though, commencing with “ever thicker grasses” (shigeki no) is particularly fine in terms of configuration [sugata yoroshiki ni nitari]. Thus, it is the winner, this round.’

Summer I: 8

Left (Win).


tare ka yuku
natsuno no kusa no
hazue yori
honoka ni miyuru
mishima sugagasa
Who is that a’coming?
Above the summer plains’ grass
Distantly appears
A Mishima sedge-hat!

Lord Suetsune.




natsukusa ni
no kai no koma mo
ibayuru koe zo
hito ni shiraruru
Among the summer grasses
The herded horses, too,
Are hidden;
Whinnying neighs
Are what let folk know!

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


Neither team has any comments to make about the other’s poem this round.

Shunzei remarks, ‘While the Left’s poem is certainly affecting, might it not be the case that simply “someone” (tare ka yuku) seen at a distance wearing a Mishima sedge-hat is insufficiently moving? However, the conception of the Right’s poem is not that surprising [kokoro wa mezurashikaranedo], and the expression [kotoba] “are hidden” (kakuroete) is certainly inappropriate [yoroshiki kotoba ni arazarubeshi]. “Sedge-hat” should win, should it not!’

Summer I: 7

Left (Win).


tabibito ya
natsuno no kusa o
suge no ogasa no
Does a traveller
Through the grasses on the summer plains
Come forging?
A woven hat of sedge
Revealed and then concealed…

Lord Kanemune.




natsu kusa no
shigemi o yukeba
nani to naku
tsuyu wake koromo
sode zo nurekeru
Through the summer grass’
Lush growth a’going
My robe’s dew breaking
Sleeves are drenched.

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right have no criticisms to make of the Left’s poem, but the Left remark that, ‘the phrase “somehow” (nani to naku) is obscure and discordant.’

Shunzei comments, ‘While the style [fūtei] of the Left’s poem is somewhat lacking, it otherwise has no faults. The Right’s “robe’s dew breaking” (tsuyu wake koromo) is superb, but as a whole the expression in the poem is insufficient. The Left wins.’

Summer I: 3

Left (Tie).


iro kaenu
yowai wa shirazu
natsu kodachi
midori wa matsu ni
Are their hues unchanging
Through the ages – that I do no know;
Summer clustered trees’
Green on the pines
Will alter not!

Lord Suetsune.


Right (Tie).


aki o mo shiranu
kaede kana
tokiwa no iro o
shibashi nusumite
They’ll be found out!
All unknowing of the autumn are
The maple trees;
The eternal pine trees’ hue
Steal, if only briefly…



The Right simply say, ‘The Left’s poem contains major faults,’ while the Left reply, ‘The Right’s poem’s “maple trees” (kaede kana) and “Steal, if only briefly” (shibashi nusumite) are vulgar in the extreme!’ (By this they mean that nusumu (‘steal’) is inappropriate for poetry, as is the impression given that the maples have volition.)

Shunzei comments, ‘That the Left’s poem contains faults has already been mentioned by the Right. The Right’s poem though has the form of an eccentric poem, and one must wonder about granting sensitivity to maple trees, so the round must tie.’

Summer I: 2

Left (Win).


hana wa mina
natsu kodachi
midori mo haru no
iro naranu ka wa
The blossoms have all
Finished falling, but
The summer clustered trees’
Green – of spring
Is it not, too, a shade?

Lord Ari’ie.




natsu koromo
usu moeginaru
waka kaede
akizome kaemu
iro zo yukashiki
The summer garb of
Pale grass-green
Young maple trees
To autumn shades will change;
How I long to see those hues!

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right state, ‘In the previous round there was an assessment that our poem was inappropriate: if so, this poem of the Left’s seems to contain a concealed longing for Spring.’ The Left reply, ‘The previous poem concluded with “sacred groves” (kamunabi no mori). This poem has “Is it not, too, a shade?” (iro naranu ka wa), and so a spirit of appreciation of summer. It is the same as Right’s poem in the previous round.’

Shunzei’s judgement is, ‘Although I have little liking for “summer clustered trees” (natsu kodachi), “green – of spring” (midori mo haru no) seems particularly fine. The Right’s poem does not appear to be appreciating new trees and, saying “To autumn shades will change; How I long to see those hues!” (akizome kaemu iro zo yukashiki) is contrary to the central meaning of the topic. Furthermore, “how I long” (yukashiki) is an unsuitable expression. The Left must win.’

Summer I: 1

Left (Tie).


waka midorinaru
natsu kodachi
momiji no aki mo
sa mo araba are
On Tatsuta Mountain
The fresh, green
Summer clustered trees
Autumn’s scarlet leaves
Do match.



Right (Tie).


omokage wa
shigureshi aki no
momiji nite
kamunabi no mori
Bringing to mind
Shower-dampened, autumn
Scarlet leaves:
The pale, grass-green
Sacred groves…

Lord Takanobu.


The Right say, ‘The Left’s poem seems to be have the same conception as the composition by Emperor Sūtoku, “Autumn’s clear moon/Do match” (tsuki sumu aki mo sa mo araba are).’ In reply, the Left say, ‘It is entirely to be expected that there should be such a resemblance,’ and then remark about the Right’s poem, ‘It sounds as if scarlet leaves are its main point, and the topic has been rendered secondary. Furthermore, “pale, grass-green” (usumoeginaru) does not seem to clearly relate to anything.’

Shunzei simply says, ‘“Tatsuta Mountain”(tatsutayama), “sacred groves” (kamunabi no mori), “fresh, green” (wakamidori) and “pale, grass-green” are all appropriate to the form, and there does not appear to be a clear winner, or loser.’