Tag Archives: Spring’s End

Spring III: 30

Left (Tie).


yoshino yama
hana no furusato
ato taete
munashiki eda ni
haru kaze zo fuku
Upon Mount Yoshino –
The home of blossom –
Footprints fade away;
Now purposeless, the branches,
Shudder in the winds of spring.

A Servant Girl.


Right (Tie).


yama no ha ni
nioishi hana no
kumo kiete
haru no hikazu wa
ariake no tsuki
Along the mountains’ edge
The glow of blossom
Clouds has faded;
The numbered days of Spring,
Revealed by the dawntime moon.



Both teams proclaim themselves moved by the other’s poem.

Shunzei, however, has this to say. ‘The Left’s poem contains “purposeless, the branches, shudder in the winds of spring” (munashiki eda ni harukaze zo fuku), and despite the fact that poems on Mount Yoshino have a somewhat old-fashioned air, and that one might wonder on which peaks it is such clouds of blossom remain, even these moss-covered sleeves have become thoroughly soaked with tears at the thought that the Way of poetry has not reached its end; the Right’s poem has “The numbered days of Spring, revealed by the dawntime moon” (haru no hikazu wa ariake no tsuki), and this has moved even this old heart to thoughts of such a dawning sky, so it is impossible to distinguish between the two in quality. Of old, Spring poems had style, indeed, and to think that such form and spirit still combine to torment the soul is something for which I am thoroughly grateful. Truly, these moss-covered sleeves have been drenched by both Left and Right!’

Spring III: 29



yayoi no nobe no

haru wa sueba ni
narinikeru kana
Fresh and green
The Third Month fields of
Spring, its end
Has reached, indeed!

Lord Ari’ie.


Right (Win).


sakisomuru yori
fuji no hana
kureyuku haru no
iro o misuramu
For some reason
With the first blush of
Wisteria blooms,
Departing Spring
Does show its hues.



The Right wonder, ‘Whether “fresh and green the Third Month” (urawakaki yayoi) is quite appropriate?’, (meaning that associations of youth with the Third Month, which marked the end of Spring seem incongruous). The Left have no particular remarks to make about the Right’s poem.

Shunzei states, ‘Both the Left’s “fresh and green the Third Month” (urawakaki yayoi) and the Right’s “for some reason” (ikanareba) are of the same quality, but in addition, “wisteria blooms” (fuji no hana) is better than “fleeceflower” (saitazuma), and so its final stanza is somewhat better. It should win.’

Spring III: 28

Left (Tie).


ko no moto wa
hikazu bakari o
nioi nite
hana mo nokoranu
haru no yamazato
Beneath the trees
Just a few days’
Of scented shade;
No blossoms remaining
Round my mountain home…

Lord Sada’ie.


Right (Tie).


uguisu no
hana no nekuraba
furusu ni ima ya
The warbler
Found his roost among the blooms –
All grown to ruin now;
An abandoned nest, now,
Is all they do recall…



Neither team has any criticism to make of the other’s poem.

Shunzei states, ‘Although the Right’s poem has a somewhat old-fashioned air about it [sukoshi furite zo mie], both poems are superb in form [utazama wa tomo ni yū], and thus the round should tie.’

Spring III: 27



kanete omou
nagori kana
akarenu hana mo
ne ni kaerinaba
Long have I thought that
Hopeless would be
My regret,
Should the blooms – unsurfeited –
Return to their roots.

Lord Suetsune.


Right (Win).


wa ga oshimu
nageki ni soete
omou kana
hana ni okururu
haru no kokoro o
Upon my regretful
Sorrow is heaped
Yet more grief:
With the blossoms gone
That is the sense of spring…

Lord Takanobu.


The Right remark that ‘unsurfeited’ (akarenu) in the Left’s poem is ‘grating on the ear’, while the Left suggest that ‘upon my regretful’ (wa ga oshimu) in the Right’s is less than entirely admirable.

Shunzei contents himself with simply saying that, ‘The Left’s “unsurfeited” sounds worse than the Right’s “upon my regretful”.’

Spring III: 26

Left (Win).


hana mo mina
chirinuru haru wa
uguisu no
naku ne bakari ni
tomaru narikeri
Every blossom
Fallen: of spring
The warbler’s
Song, alone,

Lord Kanemune.




uguisu mo
koesu nari
asu bakarinaru
haru o uramite
The warbler, too,
Unable to endure
Lifts his voice in song;
That tomorrow alone
Is left of spring, he bitterly resents.

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right suggest that the Left’s poem, ‘appears to have a great deal in common with the poem on the “dwelling does it seem,indeed!”’.

The Left indicate they have nothing to remark on in the Right’s poem.

Shunzei agrees with the Right, up to a point, ‘The beginning of the Left’s poem does, indeed, as the gentlemen of the Right say, recall the “dwelling” (Furusato), but its final section is truly marvellous. Simply ending with “spring, he bitterly resents” (haru o uramite), as does the Right’s poem, is worse than the Left’s old-fashioned beginning.’

Spring III: 25

Left (Tie).


hakanashi ya
itsu made hana no
chiraji tote
haru o tometaru
keshiki naruran
How piteous!
That the blossom should never
Fall – the words
Cling on to spring,
Or so it seems…



Right (Tie).


hana no katami to
miru haru o
ima ikuka wa
aran to suran
Never surfeited of
Blossom are my memories
Of Spring;
Now, a few days:
Do only they remain?

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right say that the Left’s poem ‘gives the impression that Spring has passed and yet blossoms remain’ (meaning it’s unsuited to the topic, which is about the last days of spring), while the Left say the final line of the Right’s poem, ‘sounds weak.’

Shunzei disagrees, ‘The final section of the Right’s poem gives an emphatic impression. However, both ‘ should never’ (itsu made) and ‘now, a few days’ (ima ikuka wa) jointly have such a similar spirit [of spring shortly ending] that it is not possible to determine a winner or loser between the two poems.’