Tag Archives: words

KKS XIV: 688

A poem from the Poetry Contest held by the Empress Dowager during the reign of the Kanpyō emperor.


omoFu teFu
koto no Fa nomi ya
aki wo Fete
iro mo kaFaranu
mono ni Fa aruran
My fond thoughts expressed
In words, and leaves, simply
On reaching autumn’s surfeit—
Won’t they change their hues?
No, that will never be.


Love IX: 14

Left (Win)

ima sara ni
tare ni kokoro o
ware to sumi e wa
Now, once again,
To whom will his heart
Shift? His reflection in
A drawing of ink, is all that’s left
Drawn, now he no longer lives with me…

Lord Ari’ie


ato mo naku
iro ni nariyuki
koto no ha ya
sumi e o tomuru
kodachi naruran
No lines remain,
All is turned to colour;
Will his leaves of words
Remain here at my home, as an ink
Sketch of a grove?

Lord Takanobu

The Right state: the Left’s poem has no faults in particular. The Left state: why would you say that an ink drawing that remains ‘leaves no trace’? We would have preferred it had it been ‘colours most fair’ (iro masaru).

In judgement: both Left and Right have the conception of ‘ink drawings’ (sumie) and, when viewed together, I do not feel that they show much promise, but the Right, beginning with ‘no lines remain’ (ato mo naku) which I do not feel is in tune with the latter part of the poem, in addition, then concludes with ‘sketch of a grove’ (kodachi naruran) which is undesirable. The Left’s ‘a drawing of ink, is all that’s left’ (ware to sumi e wa) is a metaphorical expression which at least strives at charm. Thus, I must say that the Left is superior.

Minbukyō yukihira uta’awase 2

Left (Win)

otoFa no yama no
sasuga ni iFanu
koto na tanome so
I wonder about
Wingbeats on Otowa Mountain,
The cuckoo:
Truly in unsaid
Words place no trust!



tare to ka Fa
koto Fa kataraFu
madu wa ga kiku ni
iFade wataru Fa
To whom is it that
Tales you tell,
O, Cuckoo?
When first I listen,
Wordless, do you fly back and forth…


MYS XVI: 3799


ani mo aranu
ono ga mi no kara
hito no ko no
koto mo tsukusaji
ware mo yorinamu
There is nothing to
An inconsequential girl like me;
As all the others,
I’ll not use all my words, but
I, too, will yield to him!