sakazaramu mono naranaku ni sakurabana nao mo kage ni nomi madaki miyuramu Wishing not to bloom Will not remain The cherry blossom, but Even so their shape alone Swiftly, I would wish to see!
yamazakura sakinuru toki wa tsune yori mo mine no shirakumo tachimasarikeri When the mountain cherry Has bloomed, Earlier than usual Clouds of white around the peak Do rise spectacularly!
The Left uses ‘wish’
[ii] twice; the Right places the mountain cherries at a distance—that make the round a tie.
[i] This poem is included in Gosenshū (I: 118), with the headnote, ‘A poem from Former Emperor Uda’s Poetry Contest’.
[ii] Uda is objecting to Mitsune’s double usage of the auxiliary verb -ramu in his judgement here.
Love without meeting
au koto no katakishi nareba shiranami no tachiyoru kazu wa ware nomi zo shiru Meeting you is A distant cliff, so The whitecaps’ Numbers breaking there I alone do know.
awamu to wa omoi wataredo fujikawa no sumazu wa tsui ni kage mo mieji o To meet her Passionately did I cross, yet The Fuji River Was so clouded that at the last Her shape I could not see at all…
Composed at the Kameyama Palace in the Eighth Month, Kenji 2 , when the first topic announced was ‘the shape of a pine tree floating in a pond’.
yorozuyo to kame no oyama no matsukage o utsushite sumeru yado no ikemizu For ten thousand generations On the mount of Kame Is the pine tree’s shape, Reflected, so clear in This dwelling’s pond waters.
The Retired Emperor [Kameyama]
itsu no ma ni hana karenikemu nagaku dani ariseba natsu no kage to mimashi o In an instant The blossoms seems to wither! If but longer They were here, summer’s Shape I would see in them…
ikuchi tabi nakikaeruramu ashihiki no yamahototogisu koe wa wasurete How many thousand times, Does he return to sing? The leg-wearying Mountain cuckoo, Forgetting his song…
aki no yo no ariake ni miredo hisakata no tsuki no katsura wa utsurouwanu kana An autumn night’s Dawn I see, yet The eternal Moon’s silver trees Show no sign of fading!
aki hagi no hana saku koro no shiratsuyu wa shitaba no tame to wakite okubeshi In autumn, the bush clover Flowers bloom—just then Silver dewdrops For the under-leaves Do fall, marking every one.
akikaze wa inaba mo soyo to fukitsumeri kari miru hodo to nari ya shinuran The autumn breeze Seems to rustle the rice stalks As it blows; Seeing if ‘tis time to reap them— Is that what it is, I wonder?
ama no kawa towataru fune wa hanasusuki ho ni izuru hodo zo kage mo miyubeki Across the River of Heaven A boat goes ferrying: When the silver grass Ears burst into bloom, Can its shape be seen.
ominaeshi saga no hana oba iro nagara aki o sakari to iwarezu mogana Maidenflowers: Blossoms from Saga Reveal their hues, and In autumn are most fine—that Goes without saying!
saoshika no asa tatsu kiri ni urifuyama mine no kozue wa iro kokarikeri Stags Within the rising morning mist on Urifu Moutain, where The treetops on the peak Have taken darker hues.
yoshinogawa nagarete suguru toshinami ni tachi’i no kage mo kurenikeru kana The River Yoshino Flows past The year’s waves Rise and fall, shapes Vanish into the twilight.
Ōe no Masafusa
suberagi no nagai no ike wa mizu sumite nodoka ni chiyo no kage zo miekeru Our Sovereign’s Nagai Pond has Water so clear, that In peaceful calm a thousand generations Shape is revealed.
Mandarin Ducks 鴛鴦
yamakawa ni tomonaki oshi wa kage o mite hitotsugai aru kokochi sura shimo In a mountain stream A mateless mandarin does See a shape and A pair Even he feels himself to be!
idenishi mama no
tsuki no kage
wa ga namida nomi
sode ni matedomo Reluctantly
Emerged and left
That moonlight shape;
Though my tears, alone,
Upon my sleeves do wait…
oroka ni mo
kimi mo moshi
hitori ya koyoi
tsuki o miruran Heedlessly
Do I wonder
Whether maybe she, too,
Is alone this night
And gazing at the moon…
The Right state: we cannot grasp the sense of the Left’s poem. The Left state: we are unable to understand the reason for the Right’s use of ‘heedlessly’ (
oroka ni mo).
In judgement: while both poems do appear to have some conception, the Gentlemen of both Left and Right appear to have stated that they are unable to grasp it. Far be it from me to provide an interpretation in the light of this, so I shall follow the Gentlemen’s remarks and make this round a tie.