omoiwabi koiji ni mayou shirube ni wa namida bakari zo saki ni tachikeru Suffering with passion, and Lost upon the paths of love My guide is Simply my tears that Set out before me.
Consultant and Middle Captain Tadanori
The reply, written in a style to blend in with the picture on the paper, of a many-petalled safflower, and attached to a stem of bellflower, made from metal.
koiji oba fumi dani miji to omou mi ni nani ka wa kakaru namida naruran Upon the path of love I’ve not seen you take even one step I feel, so Why might you show such Tears, I wonder?
Kii, in service to the former Kamo Virgin
Safflower. Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay
The same Major Counsellor, writing vertically upon delicate scarlet paper.
toshi futomo iwade kuchinuru umoregi no shita no kokoro wa furinu koi kana The years pass by, yet Without a word, has rotted The drowned tree— Beneath it, my heart Has grown old with love!
fukakaranu minase no kawa no umoregi wa shita no koiji wa toshi furinu tomo There’s no depth to The River Minase, where Drowned trees lie— Beneath, the paths of love Have grown old in years, and yet…
Chikuzen, Daughter of Prince Yasusuke
koiji ni wa kaze ya wa sasou asa yū ni tani no shibabune yukikaeredomo Along the path of love Does the wind beckon me? Morning and evening Along the valley boats of brushwood Go back and forth, yet…
A Servant Girl 1177
mashiba koru shizu ni mo aranu mi naredomo koi yue ware mo nageki o zo tsumu Cutting kindling as A mountain man is not My lot, yet For love do I Stack up my grief in logs!
The Supernumerary Master of the Empress’ Household Office 1178
Left and Right together state: there is no reason to make any criticisms here.
In judgement: although ‘beckon’ (
sasou) in the Left’s poem should be ‘send’ ( okuru), it is certainly elegant how it evokes thoughts of Captain Cheng travelling along the valley. The Right, beginning with ‘kindling’ ( mashiba) and then having ‘grief in logs’ ( nageki) sounds a little too similar, I think. The Left should win.
aFu o kagiri to
nareru koFidi Fa My heart,
Since leaving home
Has been all a tangle;
Only to meet with you
Have I learned these paths of love.
Minamoto no Morotoki