The Beginning of Winter
shimo no ue ni furu hatsuyuki no asagōri tokemu hodo koso hisashikarikeri Upon the frost Falls first snow turning To ice with the morning; The time ‘twill take to melt Will be long, indeed.
kaminazuki momiji no iro wa fuku kaze to tani no mizu to zo otoshihatetsuru In the Godless Month The scarlet leaves’ hue With the gusting wind, and The waters in the valley, do Drop completely.
koma nabete me mo haru no no ni majirinamu wakana tsumitsuru hito wa ari ya to Mounts all over The springtime meadows before my eyes Are mixed; A’plucking of fresh herbs, Are there folk there, I wonder?
uguisu no tani yori izuru koe naku wa haru kuru koto o tare ka tsugemashi If the bush-warbler From the valleys Did not sing his song, That spring is coming Would anyone announce it at all?
 Shisen manyōshū 13; Kokin rokujō II: 1137, ‘Springtime meadows’
 A minor variant of this poem occurs in Kokinshū (I: 14), attributed to Ōe no Chisato: 鶯の谷よりいづる声なくは春来ることを誰かしらまし uguisu no / tani yori izuru / koe naku wa / haru kuru koto o / tare ka shiramashi ‘If the bush-warbler / From the valleys / Did not sing his song, / That spring is coming / Would anyone realise at all?’; also Shinsen man’yōshū 261.
This match took place when, hearing that his courtiers were composing poetry, His Majesty ordered them to compose love poems to the ladies in attendance.
omoi’amari ikade morasan okuyama no iwa kakikomuru tani no shitamizu My passion’s full, so How should it o’erflow? Deep within the mountains Hemmed in by crags are The waters of the valley floor…
Major Counsellor Kinzane
ika nareba oto ni nomi kiku yamakawa no asaki ni shimo wa kokoro yosuran For some reason, I simply hear the sound Of a mountain stream; Into the shallows, indeed, has Your heart been swept, it seems!
[Nakako,] The Suō Handmaid
yamazato wa tani no shitamizu tsurara ite iwa utsu nami no oto dani mo sezu At a mountain retreat The waters in the valley below Have turned to icicles, and Of waves striking the rocks There is no sound, at all.
tani fukami ato dani mienu yamadera wa kakehi no mizu no yuku nite zo shiru Deep within the valley No tracks lead to This mountain temple: Water through the culverts’ Passing reveals it.
tani’oroshi no kaze shi yamineba yo to tomo ni okitsu ga hara ni kunugi namidatsu From down the valley The breeze has ceased, so now With the fall of night Across plain at Okitsu Waves run through the chestnut oaks.
When Spring Arrives in the Old Year 旧年立春
tani no to o idezu to nake ya uguisu wa toshi mo akenu ni haru wa kinikeri Will ‘From the valley’s mouth Come not!’ you sing? O, warbler, for The year has not yet dawned, though Spring has come.
A poem from a poetry competition held by Her Majesty, the Empress, during the Kanpyō period.
Fuku kaze to tani no midu to si nakariseba miyama gakure no Fana wo mimasi ya The gusting wind and The valley’s waters Were there none, then Hidden in the mountains’ depths These blossoms – would any wish to see them?
A poem from the Poetry Competition held in the reign of the Kanpyō Empress.
tokuru koFori no
uti’iduru nami ya
Faru no FatuFana In the valley’s breezes
Does melt the ice, and
From every crack
Do burst waves – are these
The first blooms of spring?
Minamoto no Masazumi
mi o sutete
omoe to iwaba
tora fusu tani ni
yo o mo tsukusan ‘Abandon all restraint, and
Love me!’ say that, and
In far Cathay,
In a valley where tiger’s lie
Would I end my life!
tora fusu shima mo
omowanu naka no
utoki keshiki wa In Cathay,
Isles where tigers lie
Stand in between:
A heedless love’s
Chill is such a sight!
Left and Right together: both tigers do not seem to emphasise anything in particular.
In judgement: both poems refer to ‘tigers’ (
tora), with the Left having ‘a valley where tigers lie’ ( tora fusu tani) and the Right ‘isles where tigers lie’ ( tora fusu shima). These seem to be an attempt to differ from the standard ‘meadow’ ( nobe). Saying ‘valley’ or ‘isles’ makes both poems sound modern. They are of the same quality.