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Koresada shinnō-ke uta’awase 33


aki ku tomo
midori no kaede
chirazu zo aramashi
momiji naranedo
Autumn comes, yet
The maples in green
Do display themselves, so
I would you not scatter,
For your leaves have not turned scarlet…



shizu wa ta ni
koi wa suredomo
konu hito o
matsumushi no ne zo
aki wa kanashiki
Peasants in the rice-fields
Do fall in love, yet
For a man who fails to come, I
Pine crickets cries make
Autumn all the more sad.


Autumn II: 16

Left (Tie).


akita moru
shizu ga iori ni
yado karan
satemo kono yo wa
suginubeki mi zo
The autumn paddies warding,
A peasant’s hut – there
Will I find lodging;
And thus, within this world
Will I be able to spend my time!

Lord Kanemune.


Right (Tie).


yamada no io mo
aki wa nao
kokoro no hate wa
Not deep at all within
The mountain paddies is this hut, yet
Autumn, still,
My heart, to the brim,
Does fill…



The Right complain that the Left’s poem ‘appears to be expressing somewhat outré sentiments’. The Left state on the other hand that the Right’s poem is ‘not bad’.

Shunzei’s judgement: the type of emotional import expressed in the Left’s poem is superlative. In The Tales of Ise, after all, there is the section on ‘gathering fallen ears of rice’ – most charming! To say that this is outré suggests a deficiency of understanding. The Right’s poem, too, conveys an emotional message. I must wonder about the use of ‘Not deep at all within’ (fukakaranu), but still, the round should tie.

Autumn II: 6

Left (Tie).


kosame furu
katsushika wase o
karu mama ni
tami no sode sae
Showers fall in
Katsushika; early ripened rice
Even the peasants’ sleeves
Are damp.



Right (Tie).


kohagi saku
katayamakage ni
higurashi no
nakisu sabitaru
murasame no sora
Bush clover blooming
In the mountain’s shade;
The sundown cicadas
Sing intermittently
To the showery skies.



Neither team has any criticisms to make.

Shunzei say, ‘The style and construction of both poems is superb, though the Left’s is particularly archaic in tone, and thus using mama ni in the central section is somewhat weak, is it not? Surely, “Whilst reaping” (karu nae ni) would have been a better fit! The Right’s simple conclusion of “showery skies” (murasame no sora) is particularly effective. However, the Left, too, with “even the peasants’ sleeves” (tami no sode sae) shows a fine spirit. The two poems are a match and tie.’

Autumn I: 27



ato mo naku
kesa wa nowaki ni
shidoro ni mieshi
sugo ga takegaki
Not a trace remains, after
This morning, when the gales
Came, of
The jumbled sight of
Peasants’ bamboo fences.

Lord Suetsune.


Right (Win).


wa ga kokoro made
nowakisuru yoru no
hana no iroiro
Even my heart
Has faded, following
A night of galing,
With the blossoms’ myriad hues…



The Right remark tersely that the Left’s poem is ‘just about “peasants’ bamboo fences” (sugo ga takegaki)’, while the Left reply, ‘and what about “galing” (nowakisuru)?’

Shunzei’s judgement is that ‘the Right’s poem is not bad in form [utazama wa ashikarazaru], but “Gales” must be composed about the wind blowing upon the many blooms on the plains, and to think that the wind would go so far as to cause damage to “peasants’ bamboo fences” is inappropriate. In the Right’s poem, “galing” does not seem a particular fault. By including “even my heart” (wa ga kokoro made) a link is formed between blossoms and emotions [kokoro ni aru ni nitarubeshi]. The Right’s poem has the essence of the topic [hon’i naru ya], does it not? It must win.’

Autumn I: 14

Left (Tie).


inazuma no
hikari ni nomi ya
tanaka no sato no
yūyami no sora
Is it lightning’s
Light alone, that
Can console?
Dwelling among the rice-fields
Beneath the blackened evening sky.



Right (Tie).


shitsu no o ga
yamada no io no
toma o arami
moru inazuma o
tomo to koso mire
A peasant in
The mountain fields, whose hut has
A rough roof of straw:
The lightning dripping in
Seems his single friend.

Lord Tsune’ie.


As with the previous round, neither team can find fault with the other’s poem.

Shunzei, however, says, ‘The initial part of the Left’s poem is fine, indeed, but one wonders where the “dwelling among the rice fields” (tanaka no sato) is. I wonder whether nowadays poets can simply refer to a house among the rice fields. I do seem to have heard it before, but for the life of me I cannot remember where. As for the Right’s poem, this, too, has a perfectly standard beginning, but then has the expression “lightning dripping” (moru inazuma) – this seems rather new-fangled to me! Both poems are about the same.’

Summer II: 18



shizu ga kakine mo
hikari kotonaru
yūgao no hana
Creeping from the matted growth
The peasant’s fence
Shines with the fair hues
Of a special light:
Moonflower blooms.

Lord Ari’ie.




tasogare ni
magaite sakeru
hana no na o
ochikata hito ya
towaba kotaemu
In the dusk
Entangled, blooming;
The flowers’ name
A distant stranger
Were I to ask, would he reply?

Lord Takanobu.


The Right wonder whether the expression ‘shine with fair hues’ (irowayu) is quite proper. The Left complain that ‘in the poem “distant stranger/will I raise my voice” there is no mention of moonflowers.

Shunzei states, ‘In the Left’s poem, it might be acceptable to talk of the “fence’s hue” (kakine no iro), but “shines with the fair hues” (irowaete)is undesirable. As for the Right’s poem, the response to the “distant stranger” in the original poem contains the phrase ‘when in Spring’ (haru sareba). It is certainly not a reference to moonflowers. In Genji, the Prince sees some white blossoms, and mentions the “distant strangers”; his bodyguard hears and understands, saying, “Those are called moonflowers,” and this is no mistake, however, to refer to Genji so obliquely is poor. It does the work a disservice. Still, with the Left’s “shines with fair hues” it is difficult to determine a winner. A tie it is!”

Summer II: 17

Left (Tie).


nasake zo miyuru
arate kumu
shizu ga soto mo no
yūgao no hana
How natural
To be moved:
Twined roughly round the fence
Outside a peasant’s hut,
Moonflower blooms…



Right (Tie).


yamagatsu no
chigiri no hodo ya
yoru o nomi matsu
yūgao no hana
Is it with the mountain man
Her time is pledged
So secretly?
For the night alone, awaiting,
The moonflower bloom.



The Right state, ‘it is normal diction to say ‘roughly’ (arate) ‘hang’ (kaku). Is it possible to also use ‘twine’ (kumu)?’ In response from the Left, ‘Yes, one can.’ The Left have no criticisms to make of the Right’s poem.

Shunzei states, ‘Both poems are equally lacking in faults or merits. Whether one uses “roughly” twining or hanging, neither is particularly superlative, I think. “Her time is pledged” (chigiri no hodo ya) seems somehow lacking , too. This round must tie.’