Tag Archives: shiishiba

Eikyū hyakushu 377



fuyu samumi
shimo wa okedomo
shiishiba no
tokiwa no iro wa
asezu mo aru kana
In winter’s chill
The frost falls, yet
The brushwood’s
Evergreen hues
Fade not at all…

Higo, from the Residence of the Kyōgoku Regent

Winter II: 18



shiishba wa
fuyu koso hito ni
koto tou arare
nokosu kogarashi
The brushwood,
That ‘tis winter to folk
Does tell;
Hail raising cries from leave
Left by the freezing winds.

Lord Sada’ie.


Right (Win).


yū koekureba
shiishiba no
ureba ni tsutau
tama arare kana
Just on the edge of mountain deeps,
When evening has passed by,
The brushwood’s
Leaf-tips display
Gemstone hail!

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right state that the final section of the Left’s poem is ‘fierce’ [arashi]. The Left state that the Right’s ‘gemstone hail’ (tama arare) ‘sounds poor’ [kikiyokarazu].

Shunzei’s judgement: The Gentlemen of the Right have stated that the final section of the Left’s poem is ‘fierce’ – how can they say this? I would say that it appears perfectly pleasant [yoroshiku koso miehabere, ikaga]. However, the Right’s ‘when evening has passed by’ (yū koekureba) and ‘leaf-tips’ (ureba) seem a rather overblown style to me [kotogotoshiki fūtei ni miehaberi]. ‘Gemstone’ (tama), though, in addition to being a word used to praise something, is used in conjunction with ‘hail’, in ‘the echoes are chill as pearls falling one by one from a dragon’s jaw’ . There is nothing to criticise about it. Thus, the Right should win.

Winter II: 17



kuchiba mo shita ni
iro mo kawaranu
mine no shiishiba
Fallen, piled
Leaves underfoot
Are there none;
Unchanging are the hues
Of brushwood on the peak.

Lord Suetsune.




shiishiba no
shibashi to omoishi
yo no naka no
yosoji no fuyu ni
narikeru kana
To brushwood
Briefly turned my thoughts
Within this sad world
Forty winters
Have I reached.



The Right can find nothing to criticise in the Left’s poem. The Left say, ‘This is a personal lament, as in the previous round.’

Shunzei’s judgement: ‘The Left’s poem sounds like a congratulatory poem (shūgen) without being one, and its diction and overall conception are splendid [sugata kotoba yoroshiku]. With regard to the Right’s poem, while it is true that one does not normally compose personal laments for poetry competitions [jukkai wa uta’awase ni uchimakasenu koto], it is not the case that there are absolutely no examples of this. While it is true that I find the diction and overall conception of the poem difficult to grasp [uta no sugata kotoba koso nanigoto to wa kokoroezu nagara], it sounds tasteful [yū ni kikoete], and it’s difficult to declare a winner this round. I must make it a tie.’

Winter II: 16

Left (Win).


ikutose ni
ware narinuran
shiishiba no
shibashi wa setemo
ureshikarishi o
How many years
Has it been since I
Broke the brushwood to reach Fourth Rank?
I has been a while, and yet
I was happy then…

Lord Kanemune.




michi no shiishiba
toshi furite
koeyuku hito zo
Rank is a mountain
Trail; the brushwood I broke to reach the Fourth
Some years ago, and
Those men who cross to greater heights,
How I do envy them!

Lord Takanobu.


Both teams say that their poems are ‘no more than an expression of personal dissatisfaction’.

Shunzei’s judgement: Both poems are, indeed, similar personal laments [jukkai]. The Right’s ‘trail; the brushwood’ (michi no shiishiba) sounds more modern. The Left’s poem, though, should win.