Winter I: 11

Left (Win).


shiragiku mo
murasaki fukaku
aki to fuyu to ni
iro ya wakuran
The white chrysanthemums
A deeper violet
Have taken on;
Are autumn and winter, then
Divided by their hues?

Lord Ari’ie.




shimogare no
kiku ni shiaraba
murasaki ni
utsurou iro mo
ureshi to ya mimu
If frost-burned
Chrysanthemums there were, then
To violet,
Would a shift of hue
Be a source of joy?

The Provisional Master of the Empress’ Household Office.


The Right state that the Left’s poem expresses the topic only in its initial part. The Left comment that the Right’s poem is ‘little different from’ [Minamoto no] Koremitsu (d.1127)’s poem:


hana to mo mizu wa
shiragiku no
utsurou iro o
If frost-burned
Flowers I failed to spot,
White chrysanthemums’
Shifting hues
Might not cause me grief…

Shunzei’s judgement: The criticism that ‘the Left’s poem expresses the topic only in its initial part’ is pointless. It is common practice [tsune no narai] in poetry for the topic to be mentioned the initial part of a poem, and not in the latter; or not mentioned initially and then referred to in the final section. This section, too, just as in the Right’s poem in Winter I: 9, follows the Theory of the Five Elements. On the fact of the Right’s poem resembling Koremitsu’s: as I have said before, it is difficult to entirely avoid reference to poems outside of the Anthologies. However, if this is a poem on the topic of ‘lingering chrysanthemums’ from the Poetry Contest held in the younger years of the Lord of Hosshōji, that is all the more reason to avoid it. Thus, although in form [sama de] it may be somewhat lacking, the Left’s poem is most tasteful [yū ni haberubeshi]. The Left wins.

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