Tag Archives: tabibito

Love VII: 25

Left (Win).

iza ya sa wa
kimi ni awazu wa
wataraji to
mi o ujihashi ni
So, then,
If I am not to meet you,
I’ll not cross
In my despair, the bridge at Uji,
But just inscribe this here…



miyako omou
hamana no hashi no
tabibito ya
nami ni nurete wa
His thoughts on the capital,
The bridge at Hamana,
Does a traveller,
Wet by the waves,
Cross while lost in love?

Lord Takanobu

The Gentlemen of the Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to indicate. The Gentlemen of the Left state: we wonder if the Right’s poem does not sound as if it is only the capital which the poet loves?

In judgement: in the Left’s poem, ‘If I am not to meet you, I’ll not cross’ (kimi ni awazu wa wataraji to)  is particularly charming, having the conception of the tale of Sima Xiangru in Mengqiu, at the bridge into the commandery of Shu, where he says, ‘If I am not aboard a four-horse carriage, I’ll never cross this bridge again!’, and then later was made a Cavalryman in Permanent Attendance, and entered as an imperial messenger. Metaphorically, it also evokes his meeting with Wenjun, and so seems particularly profound. The poem of the Right commences with ‘His thoughts on the capital’ (miyako omou) and then continues with ‘wet by the waves, cross while lost in love’ (nami ni nurete wa koiwataruran). I do not see how one can say that this poem lacks the conception of Love. However, the conception of the Left’s poem seems rare, indeed. Thus, it wins.

Summer I: 7

Left (Win).


tabibito ya
natsuno no kusa o
suge no ogasa no
Does a traveller
Through the grasses on the summer plains
Come forging?
A woven hat of sedge
Revealed and then concealed…

Lord Kanemune.




natsu kusa no
shigemi o yukeba
nani to naku
tsuyu wake koromo
sode zo nurekeru
Through the summer grass’
Lush growth a’going
My robe’s dew breaking
Sleeves are drenched.

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right have no criticisms to make of the Left’s poem, but the Left remark that, ‘the phrase “somehow” (nani to naku) is obscure and discordant.’

Shunzei comments, ‘While the style [fūtei] of the Left’s poem is somewhat lacking, it otherwise has no faults. The Right’s “robe’s dew breaking” (tsuyu wake koromo) is superb, but as a whole the expression in the poem is insufficient. The Left wins.’