Tag Archives: nokiba

San’i minamoto no hirotsune ason uta’awase 9

Round Nine: Quiet thoughts at Tanabata

Left

八重葎しげる軒ばをかき分けて星合の空をながめつるかな

yae mugura
shigeru nokiba o
kakiwakete
hoshiai no sora o
nagametsuru kana
Eightfold thickets
Grow lushly beneath my eaves;
Pulling them apart upon
The sky of trysting stars
Will I turn my gaze!

Taira no Sadatsugu[1]

17

Right

七夕のあふよの程は思ひやる心さへこそ空にすみけれ

tanabata no
au yo no hodo wa
omoiyaru
kokoro sae koso
sora ni sumikere
Tanabata is
A night for meeting—throughout it
I am filled with longing:
Even my very heart
Does dwell among the skies.

Fujiwara no Kaneyuki[2]

18


[1] Taira no Sadatsugu 平貞継. The identity of this individual is unclear. This poem is his sole appearance in a poetry contest.

[2] 藤原兼行

Love VIII: 12

Left (Tie)
思ひかねうち寢る宵もありなまし吹だにすさめ庭の松風

omoikane
uchineru yoi mo
arinamashi
fuki dani susame
niwa no matsukaze
Unable to bear the pains of love, and
Dozing through the night –
That happens sometimes;
O, just blow gently,
Breeze through the garden pines!

A Servant Girl
1043

Right
思ひかねながむれば又夕日さす軒端の岡の松もうらめし

omoikane
nagamureba mata
yūhi sasu
nokiba no oka no
matsu mo urameshi
Unable to bear the pains of love,
When I gaze out, once more
The evening sun shines
Past my eaves, where on the hillside
Even the pines seem resentful…

Ietaka
1044

Same as the previous round.

In judgement: here we have ‘O, just blow gently’ (fuki dani susame), and the Right has ‘Past my eaves, where on the hillside’ (nokiba no oka no): these recollect the poems ‘in the depths of sleep I tread to you’ (uchinuru naka ni yukikayou) and ‘the beams strike the hillside through the pine needles’ (sasu ya okabe no  matsu no ha); both sound elegant. I make this round a tie.

Love VIII: 1

Left (Win)
忘らるゝ人に軒端の忍ぶ草涙の雨ぞ露けかりける

wasuraruru
hito ni nokiba no
shinobugusa
namida no ame zo
tsuyukekarikeru
Forgotten by
Him, beneath my eaves
The ferns bring back memories;
A rain of tears
Leaves them dew-drenched.

Lord Kanemune
1021

Right
戀づまのやがて軒端になり行けばいとど忍ぶの草ぞ茂れる

koizuma no
yagate nokiba ni
nariyukeba
itodo shinobu no
kusa zo shigereru
My man is
Far away; beneath my eaves
Are the signs:
How many memories and
Ferns grow thickly…

Lord Tsune’ie
1022

Both Left and Right state: we find no faults to mention.

In judgement: both poems refer to ‘memory ferns’ (shinobugusa), and there is not a great deal of difference in quality between them, but the Left’s ‘rain of tears’ (namida no ame), with its association of dew, is slightly better than the Right’s ‘ferns grow thickly’ (kusa zo shigereru), and so should win.

Love VI: 24

Left (Win).
深き夜の軒の雫をかぞへても猶あまりぬる袖の雨哉

fukaki yo no
noki no shizuku o
kazoetemo
nao amari nuru
sode no ame kana
Late at night,
From my eaves the droplets
I number up, but
Still much more drenching
Is the rainfall on my sleeves.

A Servant Girl.
947

Right.
雲とづる宿の軒端の夕ながめ戀よりあまる雨の音哉

kumo tozuru
yado no nokiba no
yū nagame
koi yori amaru
ame no oto kana
Closed in with cloud,
From my dwelling’s eaves
I gaze out in the evening;
Overwhelming my love
Is the sound of rain…

Nobusada.
948

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults. The Left state: we do not understand the Right’s poem at all.

In judgement: the Left’s poem commences with ‘late at night’ (fukaki yo no) and then continues with mention of raindrops – this sounds extremely effective. The Right’s poem, too, starts ‘closed in with cloud’ (kumo tozuru) and concludes with ‘the sound of rain’ (ame no oto kana), which sounds charming, but because the poem is said to be ‘incomprehensible’ or ‘grating on the ear’, despite being one with both a significant conception and an unusual sound, there is no reason for me to shoehorn in my own views, even if much has been overlooked, so this round I will leave it at, the Right is entirely incomprehensible and the Left without fault. Thus, the Left wins.

Love V: 23

Left (Tie).
隔てける籬の島のわりなきに住む甲斐なしや千賀の塩釜

hedatekeru
magaki no shima no
warinasa ni
sumu kai nashi ya
chika no shiogama
Barring our way is
The fence – Magaki Isle:
So unreasonable
That living close is pointless, as if
We were at Chika’s salt-kilns!

Kenshō
885

Right.
忍ぶ草竝ぶ軒端の夕暮に思ひをかはすさゝがにの糸

shinobugusa
narabu nokiba no
yūgure ni
omoi o kawasu
sasagani no ito
A weeping fern lies
Between our almost touching eaves;
In the evening
Love will pass
Along the spider’s thread.

Ietaka
886

The Right state: the Left’s ‘Magaki Isle’ (magaki no shima) and ‘Chika’s salt kiln’s’ (chika no shiogama) do not seem that nearby, do they? They only evoke closeness through wordplay. The Right state: we find no faults to indicated in the Left’s poem.

In judgement: the Left’s ‘Magaki Isle’ and ‘Chika’s salt kilns’, even if they are not that close, do not display a lack of technique in the conception of the current composition. I do wonder what to think about ‘so unreasonable’ (warinasa ni), though. The Right’s weeping ferns, with the spider’s behaviour transmitting the feelings of love, does not seem unreasonable either. This round, too, the poems are comparable and should tie.

Autumn III: 6

Left (Win).

宇津の山越えし昔の跡古りて蔦の枯れ葉に秋風ぞ吹く

utsu no yama
koeshi mukashi no
ato furite
tsuta no kareba ni
akikaze zo fuku
Utsu Mountain,
Crossed in times of old by
Ruins, ageing; on
The withered ivy leaves
The winds of autumn are a’blowing…

A Servant Girl.

431

Right.

淺茅たつ庭の色だにあるものを軒端の蔦はうち時雨つゝ

asaji tatsu
niwa no iro dani
aru mono o
nokiba no tsuta wa
uchishiguretsutsu
The cogon-grass grows
In my garden, but the only hint of colour
Is in
The ivy by my eaves,
Wet with constant showers…

Jakuren.

432

As the previous round.

Shunzei’s judgement: Both Left and Right seem superb in form and diction [sugata kotoba wa yoroshiku miehaberu], but the Right’s ‘cogon-grass grows’ (asaji tatsu) is pretentious [yauyaushiku], and I wonder what to make [ikaga to oboehaberu] of the final ‘wet with constant showers’ (uchishiguretsutsu), but the conception [kokoro] of the Left’s ‘Utsu Mountain’, with its ‘ancient ruins’ brought back to memory by ‘on the withered ivy leaves the winds of autumn a’blowing’, is particularly tasteful [en]. Thus, the Left certainly wins.

Autumn II: 12

Left (Win).

秋よたゞ眺め捨ても出なまし此里のみの夕と思はば

aki yo tada
nagamesutetemo
idenamashi
kono sato nomi no
yūbe to omowaba
O, Autumn!
Could I escape you
I would leave
This dwelling, were it alone
Enveloped in evening..

Lord Sada’ie.

383

Right.

眺めつる軒端の萩の音信て松風になる夕暮の空

nagametsuru
nokiba no hagi no
otozurete
matsukaze ni naru
yūgure no sora
Gazing
At the bush clover ‘neath my eaves,
A visitor’s step
Awaiting, carried by the pine-brushed wind,
From the evening skies…

Jakuren.

384

Neither team has any criticisms of the other’s poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: There is no distinction to make between the diction or emotional import of either poem. There is, of course, no reason to expect the wind not to blow through the pine trees, when it brushes the bush clover. I feel that the sentiment of this poem’s ‘pine-brushed wind’ (matsukaze ni naru) resembles that of Round One Hundred and Ninety’s ‘Insects sing from the cogon grasses in my garden’ (mushi no ne ni naru niwa no asajū), but is somewhat inferior. The Left, though, truly captures the feeling.