Tag Archives: sunlight

Love IV: 12


hitorine no
sode no nagori no
hikage ni kienu
tsuyu mo arikeri
Sleeping solo
My sleeves remain
Damp in the morning;
The sunlight leaves untouched
The dewfall there.

A Servant Girl.

Right (Win).

michishiba o
wakete tsuyukeki
sode naraba
nuretemo kure mo
matamashi mono o
If the roadside grasses,
Have brushed dewfall
On these sleeves,
May to dampen them again, ‘til evening
I would wish to wait…


The Right state: we find no faults in the Left’s poem. The Left state: there is a very recent poem, ‘If he would be wet with waves should surely wait for evening?’.

In judgement: simply saying, ‘Sleeping solo my sleeves remain damp in the morning’ (hitorine no sode no nagori no asajimeri) seems to lack the conception of love. I wonder who might have written the ‘recent poem’, ‘If he would be wet with waves should surely wait for evening?’ mentioned by the Right? How, indeed, can we avoid poems which are not in the anthologies? In any case, the poem here is ‘May to dampen them again, ‘til evening I would wish to wait’ and the initial line is different. This level of resemblance between poems is not uncommon. The Right’s poem is pleasant. It should win.

Love IV: 9


sora harete
yama no ha izuru
hikage ni mo
kawaki mo yaranu
sode no ue kana
The sky clears and
From the mountains’ edge appears
The sunlight, yet
It cannot even dry
The surface of my sleeves…

Lord Ari’ie.

Right (Win).

sawa ni idete
asana tsumu
tomo oboenu
ayashiki hodo ni
nururu sode kana
Going out to the marshes and
Gathering greens for breakfast –
I cannot recall at all;
How strange it is that
My sleeves are then so drenched…

Lord Tsune’ie.

The Right state: we find no faults to mention in the Left’s poem. The Left state: recalling gathering greens for breakfast is something one can do in the afternoon or the evening. In addition, ‘I cannot recall’ (oboenu) is prosaic in content.

In judgement: the Left’s poem simply says that the sunlight is unable to dry one’s sleeves, and contains little conception of love. The Right’s ‘sleeves’ sound as if they have been most extraordinarily drenched, so the Right should win.

Winter I: 21



hitome koso
kare mo hatename
yamazato ni
hikage mo miezu
mizore furu koro
The bustle of folk
Seems so far away,
In a mountain home
Where no sunlight but
Sleet does fall…

Lord Ari’ie.


Right (Win).


mizoruru sora ya
kōri mo hatenu
shigure naruran
Gathering clouds,
Sleeting, fill the sky;
The first chill of
Endless ice
In the coming shower…



The Right state that they are unable to understand the point of ‘Sleet does fall’ (mizore furu koro). The Left state that ‘sleeting’ (mizoruru) is grating on the ear [kikinikushi]. In addition, the initial 5-7-5 structure is inconsistent [kiregire nari].

Shunzei’s judgement: In the Left’s poem what is the problem with understanding ‘sleet does fall’? However, what I would want it to say next is that the sunlight always falls. In the Right’s poem, one could have said ‘sleeted sky’ (mizoreshi sora), but ‘sleeting sky’ is also unproblematic [nan ni oyobubekarazu]. ‘Endless ice in the coming shower’ (kōri mo hatenu shigure naruran) is an unusual conception [kokoro mezurashiku], and ‘the first chill’ (saesomete) is also well positioned. The Right is slightly better and should win.

Autumn I: 6



nami yori aki no
satemo wasurenu
yanagikage kana
Approaching on
The waves, comes autumn to
The Tatsuta River;
And yet, I cannot forget
The willows’ shade.

A Servant Girl.




aki asaki
hikage ni natsu wa
kururu magaki wa
ogi no uwakaze
Faintly autumnal is
The sunlight, with summer
Yet remaining;
At evening by the rough-woven fence
Blows a breeze o’er the silver-grass.



The Right say the Left’s poem is ‘particularly good.’ The Left state that, ‘“Faintly autumnl” (aki asaki) grates on the ear, and we also cannot grasp the use of “evening by the rough-woven fence” (kururu magaki).’

Shunzei states, ‘The Left’s “approaching on the waves” (nami yori aki no), seems particularly charming, but when taken together with “willows’ shade” (yanagi kade)– the Tatsuta River has long been the subject of composition on “flowing scarlet autumn leaves”, and even now this gives a slightly poetic effect; “willows’ shade” has been used in composition, both in ancient times and more recently, but does it not seem commonplace now? The Right’s poem is in the same vein as that of the Right in Round One Hundred and Fifty-Two, yet I do not find “faintly autumnal” to be unpleasant. “Evening by the rough-woven fence”, too, has charm. The Left’s poem has vocabulary in accordance with the contents; the Right unusual expressions. In this combination, the round must tie.’

Spring II: 23

Left (Win).


omokage ni
chisato o kakete
misuru kana
haru no hikari ni
asobu itoyū
A vision from
Across a thousand leagues
In the spring sunlight
Wavering ‘midst the haze.

A Servant Girl.




aru ka naki ka ni
kokorobosoku mo
asobu itoyū
When I look out
Is it there, or not?
Disordered and
Wavering haze.

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right say they have nothing particular to remark upon about the Left’s poem, but the Left wonder whether ‘forlorn’ (kokorobosoku mo) forms an appropriate linkage with the final line. (The point they are making is that in the original poem the final line starts asobu, which literally means ‘enjoy oneself’ or ‘play’, and thus ‘forlorn’ seems an incongruous prequel to it. In all the ‘Heat Haze’ poems I’ve translated asobu as ‘wavering’, as it’s use in this context is not for its sense, but as an addition piece of orthographic wordplay, as ‘heat haze’ (itoyū), is written with the characters for ‘threads’ (ito 糸) and ‘play’ ( 遊).)

Shunzei’s judgement is: ‘One has to wonder about the suitability of the final line of the Right’s poem, as is the gist of the Left’s remarks; by contrast, the ending of the Left’s poems seems particularly good. It has to be the winner.’