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!
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.
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
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.