Tag Archives: niwa

Summer I: 5

Left (Win).


wa ga yado no
niwa koso kuraku
nara no hiroha no
kage ya souran
My lodging’s
Garden much darker
Has become;
Have the broad-leaved oaks
Laid shadows down?

Lord Kanemune.




momiji yue
ueshi kozue no
iro ni wa aki o
omou nomi ka wa
For scarlet leaves
I planted trees – tops now
Pale green;
For the hues of autumn
Alone I hope no longer.



The Right state bluntly, ‘Using ‘darker’ (kuraku) in this poem is highly vulgar!’ But the Left snap back, ‘Composing with “darker” is completely commonplace.’ They have no comments to make about the Right’s poem.

Shunzei remarks, ‘The Left’s “garden much darker” (niwa koso kuraku) has nothing problematic about it. “Broad-leaved oaks” (nara no hiroha), although a commonplace expression, is undesirable here. The purport of the Right’s “for the hues of autumn” (iro ni wa aki o) seems rather contrived, yet one wonders if “scarlet leaves” (momiji yue) might not be concealed beneath the “broad-leaved oaks”! The Left’s poem, being more unaffected, wins.’

Spring III: 23

Left (Win).


ame sosoku
ike no ukikusa
kaze koete
nami to tsuyu to ni
kawazu nakunari
Rain drifts down
Upon the duckweed in the pond,
Driven by the wind
Among wavelets and dewfall
The frogs are calling.

A Servant Girl.




niwa no omo wa
hitotsu ni miyuru
ukikusa o
koko zo migiwa to
kawazu nakunari
The garden’s face
Seems as one
With the duckweed;
‘Here lies the water’s edge,’
The frogs are calling…



Neither Right nor Left has any particular remarks to make about the other’s poem this round.

Shunzei says, ‘Both poems are splendid in form, but the Left’s ‘among the wavelets and dewfall’ (nami to tsuyu to ni) is particularly pleasing. It must win.