Tag Archives: Saga

Winter I: 30

Left (Win).


serikawa no
nami mo mukashi ni
miyuki taesenu
saga no yama’arashi
Seri River’s
Waves, too, in ancient times,
Would rise and fall;
A Progress as endless as
The storm winds on Mount Saga.

A Servant Girl.




miyuki seshi
nobe no furumichi
ato taesenu wa
serikawa no mizu
A progress passed
Across the plain’s old trails,
Well trod,
The traces will endure
As do the waters of Seri River…

Lord Takanobu.


Neither team finds any fault this round.

Shunzei’s judgement: Both poems have the conception [kokoro] of ‘Seri River’ (serikawa) and ‘endless Progress’ (miyuki taesenu), and there is not much between them in terms of winning or losing, but the Left’s ‘storm winds on Mount Saga’ (saga no yama’arashi) seems to blow a bit more strongly today!

Winter I: 25



ōhara ya
nobe no miyuki ni
tokoro ete
soratoru kyō no
mashirō no taka
Plain for an Imperial Progress is
Most apt;
Catching prey a’wing this day
Is a white banded hawk!



Right (Win).


saga no hara
hashiru kigisu no
kata ato wa
kyō no miyuki ni
kakurenaki kana
On the field of Saga
Racing, the pheasants’
Today’s Imperial Progress
Will not come at all…



The Right state that ‘most apt’ (tokoro ete) is rarely heard in poems. The Left reply that ‘track’ (kata ato) is the same.

Shunzei’s judgement: The poem of the Left sounds grandiose, but there is something dubious about it. When starting with Ōhara (ōhara ya), one expects it to be followed by ‘Oshio Mountain’, as it suggests the field of Ōhara. Without that following Oshio Mountain, when one encounters Ōhara, on recollects both ‘misty clear waters’ and ‘waters of a pure, peaceful well’, and does not know to which the Ōhara refers. There is no precedent at all for Imperial vists to the Ōhara which lies at the foot of Mount Hiei. There are, however, for visits to Mount Oshio. In the poem on ‘waters of a pure, peaceful well’, it states that ‘though there are no birds, we visit for our pleasure’, so it would be impossible for the ‘white banded hawk’ to take prey a’wing there. I have heard ‘tracks’ before, but the poem has little sense of truly knowing ‘Saga Field’, yet there have, without doubt, been Imperial visits there, so ‘tracks’ must be the better poem.


When Retired Emperor Go-Shirakawa was at the Seika-ji, Sada’ie went as the messenger accompanying the tribute-horses.


saga no yama
chi yo no furu michi
ato tomete
mata tsuyu wakuru
mochizuki no koma
On the mount of Saga
For a thousand generations the ancient ways
Have left their mark,
Once more forging through the dew comes
A mount from Mochizuki.



After her mother’s death, composed on the evening of the funeral at Saga.


ima wa sa wa
uki yo no saga no
nobe o koso
tsuyu kiehateshi
ato to shinobame
Now it is just so:
In this fleeting world at Saga
Field, indeed, has
The dew vanished completely, and
All I can do is recall the traces left behind.

The Daughter of Master of the Dowager Empress’ Household Office Toshinari

GSS XV: 1075

On the day the Emperor [Kōkō (830-887; r. 884-887)] in the Ninna period (885-889), following the example set in the reign of the Emperor Saga (786-842; r. 809-823), made an excursion to the River Seri.


saga no yama
miyuki taenisi
seri kaFa no
tiyo no furu miti
ato Fa arikeri
His Majesty, Saga’s mountain
Excursion is long done, yet
By the river Seri
For a thousand generations will the ancient ways
Leave their mark.

Ariwara no Yukihira (818-893)