Tag Archives: showers

KYS II: 138

A poem composed on the conception of showers at a poetry competition held at the house of Lord Toshitada.


samidare ni
midu masarurasi
maki no tugiFasi
ukinu bakari ni
In the showers
The waters seem to rise so high
At Sawada River
That the bridge of boards
Does just float upon it!

Fujiwara no Akinaka (1059-1129)

This poem is also:

Sakon gonchūjō toshitada ason ke uta’awase 6
(‘Poetry Contest held at the Residence of Lord Toshitada, Provisional Middle Captain of the Inner Palace Guards, Left Division’; 1104)

Winter I: 23

Left (Win)


tsumoru ka to
mietsuru yuki mo
mizore nite
fuyu no yamazato
Wondering at the fall
Of snow glimpsed as
It turns to sleet,
Gazing at the sight is sad, indeed,
Winterbound in my mountain home.

Lord Kanemune.




onaji sora yori
yuki fureba
shigure mo iro no
kawaru narikeri
Crowding clouds and when
From the self-same sky
Falls snow
The shower its very hue
Does change.



Neither the Left nor the Right find any fault with the other’s poems this round.

Shunzei’s judgement: Although the Left’s ‘wondering at the fall of snow glimpsed’ (tsumoru ka to mietsuru yuki mo) sounds as if a first fall of snow turns into sleet later, the latter part of the poem’s conception and diction are most fine [shimo no ku no kokoro kotoba koso yoroshiku haberumere]. The Right initially makes one wonder if it is snow falling, and then has ‘the shower its very hue’ (shigure mo iro no). Neither initially nor finally is there a mention of sleet. The Left’s ‘gazing at the sight is sad’ seems particularly good, too. Thus, the Left wins.

Autumn III: 30



tatsuta hime
ima wa no koro no
aki kaze ni
shigure o isogu
hito no sode kana
Princess Tatsuta,
At this time, now,
With the autumn winds
Does hurry along the showers
Upon folks’ sleeves.

A Servant Girl.




mi no tagui tomo
aki mo ima wa no
yūgure no sora
How sad
Am I and so, too,
I’d thought was
Autumn, now ended
With the evening skies.



The Right state that ‘hurry along the showers’ (shigure o isogu) is lacking in technique [jutsu nashi]. The Left merely say that the Right’s poem ‘isn’t bad.’

Shunzei’s judgement: Both poems use ‘now’ (ima wa) in their diction [kotoba], in conjunction with a powerful [sechinaru] conception [kokoro] of regretting autumn’s passing. Nevertheless, the Gentleman of the Left has said the Right’s poem ‘isn’t bad’ and the Gentleman of the Right has said that of the Left ‘lacks technique’. I feel, however, that the initial conception ‘Princess Tatsuta, at this time, now’ (tatsuta hime ima wa) does not refer only to autumn [but could be used for winter, too]. The Right’s ‘Autumn, now ended with the evening skies’ (aki mo ima wa no yūgure no sora) is also somewhat lacking in technique, is it not? Thus, the round lacks a clear winner, or loser.

Autumn III: 10



matsu kage ni
ikade shigure no
iwamoto hahaso
hatsu momijiseri
Beneath the pine trees’ shade
Why has the shower
Drenched all?
The oak tree, at the crag-foot
Has its first scarlet leaf.





yamashina no
iwata no ono ni

aki kurete
kaze ni iro aru
hahasowara kana
In Yamashina
At Iwata-no-Ono
Autumn is almost done
Its hues are in the wind
Upon the oak groves.

Lord Takanobu.


The Right ask whether the Left can cite a poem as a precedent for the expression ‘oak tree, at the crag-foot’ (iwamoto hahaso). The Left respond that they cannot bring one to mind immediately. However, ‘crag-foot’ is often used about a range of plants of various kinds. Thus, where is the fault in using it? The Left have no criticisms to make of the Right’s poem.

Shunzei’s judgement: It is not particularly important whether there is a precedent for the Left’s use of ‘oak tree, at the crag-foot’ [shōka no yūmu ni oyobubekarazu]. The final section, ‘has its first scarlet leaf’(hatsu momijiseri), however, given that what comes before is a standard poem [tsune no uta], is somewhat over-explicit [niwaka ni kotogotoshiku haberumere]. The Right’s poem has nothing particular to say. Starting with ‘Yamashina’ sounds overly blunt [amari ni tashika ni kikoetaru]. In addition, the final section displays no deep thought [munen narubeshi]. So, again, the round is a tie.

Autumn III: 8



suzumishi natsu no
iro kawarite mo
nao narasu kana
Beneath the oaks is
Cool in summer –
A fresh green grove;
Their hues have changed, but
Still, ‘tis where I take my rest…

Lord Suetsune.


Right (Win).


yama meguru
shigure no yado ka
wa ga mono kao ni
iro no miyuran
Roaming round the mountains
Is the showers’ lodging
Above the oaks?
Such satisfaction in their
Hues, there seems to be!



The Right state that ‘a fresh green grove’ (aogidachi) in the Left’s poem is difficult to accept [kikinikushi].The Left wonder what is meant by ‘Such satisfaction in their hues, there seems to be!’ (wa ga mono kao ni iro no miyuran).

Shunzei’s judgement: With regard to the Left’s poem, the cool of summer is usually evoked by phrases such as ‘the shade of the cedars by the Barrier springs’, or ‘’neath the pines growing by waters flowing from the rocks’, and so one wonders why a fresh green grove of oaks has been used. When the focus [mune] in a poem is autumn leaves, using ‘yet’ (nao) suggests that the poet has something else in mind. The Right’s poem is charming in conception [kokoro wa okashiku kikoyuru], but ‘lodging’ (yado ka) as a piece of diction is insufficiently heartfelt [kotoba no shokisubekarazu]. However, the Left’s poem is lacks sufficient feeling throughout [kotogoto ni kanshinserarezu]. Thus, I make the Right the winner.