Tag Archives: woodsmen

Love X: 21


asa yū ni
miyama ni kayou
shizu dani mo
nageki wa koranu
mono to koso kike
Morning and evening,
Travelling to the mountain deeps and back,
Even the woodsmen
Will not fell the tree of grief,
Or so I hear…

Lord Kanemune

Right (Win)

shizu no o yo
omoi wa ware mo
ono ga kurushiki
tsumaki naranedo
O, woodsman!
I, too, in fires of passion
Must burn on;
My longing for my love, your axe
To kindling will not hew, and yet…


The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults to indicate. The Left state: the Right’s poem sounds like it is chopping kindling that the woodsman will do no more.

In judgement: ‘Travelling to the mountain deeps and back, the woodsmen’ (miyama ni kayou shizu) should ‘fell the tree of grief’ (nageki o koru), but in the poem they ‘do not fell’ (koranu) it – I wonder how appropriate this is. This conception seems to be one not relating to grief, but simply to tree-felling. ‘I, too, in fires of passion must burn on’ (omoi wa ware mo korinubeshi) seems somewhat difficult to interpret, but I must say that the configuration of the final section is superb.

Winter II: 15

Left (Win).


shizu no tsumaki ni
koto soite
kaze mo orikeru
mine no shiishiba
Hemmed in by winter,
Woodsmen make kindling,
Just as
The wind, too, does break
The brushwood on the peak.

Lord Ari’ie.




fuyu samumi
shii no mashiba o
yado ni wa kaze mo
In winter’s chill
Evergreen brushwood
I break to stop my door, yet
My dwelling the wind
Does naught to stop…

Lord Tsune’ie.


The Right wonder about the use of ‘just as’ (koto soite). The Left merely state that the Right’s poem is ‘commonplace’ [tsune no koto nari].

Shunzei’s judgement: In the Left’s poem, should it not be ‘to the woodsmen’s kindling/add, will you?’ (shizu no tsumaki ni/soeyo to ya)? Using ‘just as’ (koto soite) does not seem a suitable expression in that it sounds somewhat pompous [yōyōshiku kikoyuru hodo]. As for the Right’s poem, ‘in winter’s chill’ (fuyu samumi) is an ordinary expression. ‘I break to stop my door, yet’ (orisasedo), too, lacks strong feeling. The final section of the Left’s poem, though, sounds pleasant [yoroshiku kokoyu]. It should win.

Winter II: 14



yamabito no
tayori naritomo
shii no koyade wa
orazu mo aranamu
For the mountain folk
Essential they may be, but
Upon the hillside
The brushwood branches
I would have them leave unbroken…





yama fukaku
shizu no oritaku
shiishiba no
oto sae samuki
asaborake kana
Deep within the mountains
Woodsmen break and burn
The brushwood;
That sound brings the chill
To me this dawning…



The Right wonder what the intention is in the Left’s poem of regretting the breakage of ‘brushwood branches’. The Left say that the Right’s poem, ‘recalls a famous poem by one of the other gentlemen of the Right.’

Shunzei’s judgement: Simply using the old-fashioned koyade in place of the more current shiishiba does not improve the sound of the poem, I think. Starting ‘Deep within the mountains’ (yama fukaku) and then continuing ‘Woodsmen break and burn’ (shizu no oritaku) – is this supposed to convey the conception of felling trees [shiba o koru kokoro ni ya]? I hardly think that if one lived in the mountains, the sound of trees being cut and burnt would make one feel the chill. The diction of ‘deep within the mountains’ does not seem appropriate [‘yama fukaku’ no kotoba, kanai mo sezaru]. Given that it does sound old-fashioned, koyade does not sound like a winner, either. The poems are of equal quality.