Tag Archives: Oak Trees

Autumn III: 12

Left (Win).


toki wakanu
nami sae iro ni
hahaso no mori ni
arashi fukurashi
Ever unchanging,
Even the waves have coloured
On Izumi River;
In the oak groves
Have the wild winds blown.

Lord Sada’ie.




aki fukaki
iwata no ono no

shitaba wa kusa no
tsuyu ya somuran
Autumn’s deep at
In the oak groves
Have the lower leaves by grass
Touched dewfall been dyed?



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

Shunzei’s judgement: The total effect of the Left’s ‘even the waves have coloured on Izumi River’ (nami sae iro in izumigawa) is most superior [sugata wa yū narubeshi]. However, there does not appear to be any element linked to the final section’s ‘wild winds’ (arashi) in the initial part of the poem. The Right has ‘have the lower leaves by grass touched dewfall been dyed?’ (shitaba wa kusa no tsuyu ya somuran), without, in the initial section having an expression like ‘treetops stained by showers’ (kozue wa shigure somu), and I wonder about having the lower leaves on the trees touched by ‘dewfall on the grass’ (kusa no tsuyu). The Left’s ‘have the wild winds blown’ should win.

Autumn III: 11

Left (Win).


shizuku mo iro mo
mori no shitagusa
aki fukenikeri
In the oak grove
Have the raindrops, too, their hues
For to the grass beneath the sacred boughs
Has autumn come!

A Servant Girl.




atari made
kozue sabishiki
fukaku wa nani o
From all around
The treetops in the lonely
Oak grove
Deep within what
Thoughts would fill one’s mind?



The Right have no criticisms to make of the Left’s poem. The Left query the usage of ‘from all around’ (atari made).

Shunzei’s judgement: The Right’s poem would certainly appear to have an in-depth grasp of the conception of the topic [makoto ni kokoro komorige ni miete], however, my shallow understanding is unable to follow it; besides which the Left’s ‘to the grass beneath the sacred boughs has autumn come!’ (mori no shitagusa aki fukenikeri) is most fine [yoroshiku habereba], so I have no need for further consideration and make the Left the winner.

Autumn III: 10



matsu kage ni
ikade shigure no
iwamoto hahaso
hatsu momijiseri
Beneath the pine trees’ shade
Why has the shower
Drenched all?
The oak tree, at the crag-foot
Has its first scarlet leaf.





yamashina no
iwata no ono ni

aki kurete
kaze ni iro aru
hahasowara kana
In Yamashina
At Iwata-no-Ono
Autumn is almost done
Its hues are in the wind
Upon the oak groves.

Lord Takanobu.


The Right ask whether the Left can cite a poem as a precedent for the expression ‘oak tree, at the crag-foot’ (iwamoto hahaso). The Left respond that they cannot bring one to mind immediately. However, ‘crag-foot’ is often used about a range of plants of various kinds. Thus, where is the fault in using it? The Left have no criticisms to make of the Right’s poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: It is not particularly important whether there is a precedent for the Left’s use of ‘oak tree, at the crag-foot’ [shōka no yūmu ni oyobubekarazu]. The final section, ‘has its first scarlet leaf’(hatsu momijiseri), however, given that what comes before is a standard poem [tsune no uta], is somewhat over-explicit [niwaka ni kotogotoshiku haberumere]. The Right’s poem has nothing particular to say. Starting with ‘Yamashina’ sounds overly blunt [amari ni tashika ni kikoetaru]. In addition, the final section displays no deep thought [munen narubeshi]. So, again, the round is a tie.

Autumn III: 9



aki zo kashi
wata no ono no
hahaso ga hara ni
momiji ya wa sen
It’s Autumn!
At Iwata-no-Ono,
Needless to say,
The oak groves, all,
Are turning to scarlet leaves.

Lord Ari’ie.




usuku koku
koto wa kawaredo
kozue ni kozoru
aki no iro kana
First dark, then light
They change, yet,
Upon the oak groves’
Treetops gather
All the hues of autumn…

The Provisional Master of the Empress Household Office.


The Right find no fault with the Left’s poem. The Left state that they find ‘gather’ (kozoru) ‘grating on the ear’ [kikiyokarazu] and ‘clumsy’ [tezutsu].

Shunzei’s judgement: Starting a poem with ‘It’s Autumn!’ is a usage of diction which I must hope will be considered charming [kotobazukai okashikaran to shokiseru narubeshi]! The Right’s ‘treetops gather’ (kozue ni kozoru) is somewhat unexpected wording [sukoshi wa omoikakenu kotoba ni wa haberedo], yet one cannot call it ‘clumsy’. So, with nothing superlative or at fault with either poem, the round ties.

Autumn III: 8



suzumishi natsu no
iro kawarite mo
nao narasu kana
Beneath the oaks is
Cool in summer –
A fresh green grove;
Their hues have changed, but
Still, ‘tis where I take my rest…

Lord Suetsune.


Right (Win).


yama meguru
shigure no yado ka
wa ga mono kao ni
iro no miyuran
Roaming round the mountains
Is the showers’ lodging
Above the oaks?
Such satisfaction in their
Hues, there seems to be!



The Right state that ‘a fresh green grove’ (aogidachi) in the Left’s poem is difficult to accept [kikinikushi].The Left wonder what is meant by ‘Such satisfaction in their hues, there seems to be!’ (wa ga mono kao ni iro no miyuran).

Shunzei’s judgement: With regard to the Left’s poem, the cool of summer is usually evoked by phrases such as ‘the shade of the cedars by the Barrier springs’, or ‘’neath the pines growing by waters flowing from the rocks’, and so one wonders why a fresh green grove of oaks has been used. When the focus [mune] in a poem is autumn leaves, using ‘yet’ (nao) suggests that the poet has something else in mind. The Right’s poem is charming in conception [kokoro wa okashiku kikoyuru], but ‘lodging’ (yado ka) as a piece of diction is insufficiently heartfelt [kotoba no shokisubekarazu]. However, the Left’s poem is lacks sufficient feeling throughout [kotogoto ni kanshinserarezu]. Thus, I make the Right the winner.

Autumn III: 7

Left (Win).


funa tomenu
hito wa araji na
hahaso no mori ni
momiji shitsureba
Not pausing the boat –
No one would when
Izumi River
By the oak grove’s
Scarlet leaves is stained…

Lord Kanemune.




somuru shigure mo
aru mono o
shibashi na fuki so
kogarashi no kaze
The oak trees are being
Stained by showers
And so
For just a while blow not,
O, withering wind!

Lord Tsune’ie.


As the previous round.

Shunzei’s judgement: The style [fūtei] of both poems is such that neither has an particular points worth criticising, or praising either. However, the Right’s ‘blow not’ (na fuki so) seems insufficient. The Left wins.