In our last episode, we talked about a famous poetry contest in 960 which pitted two excellent poems against one another. Poem 40 by Taira no Kanemori was judged the winner, but this poem on the same theme was the loser though only just barely:
|恋すてふ||Koisu chō||My name already|
|我が名はまだき||Waga na wa madaki||is bandied about with|
|立ちにけり||Tachi ni keri||rumors I’m in love—|
|人しれずこそ||Hito shirezu koso||though, unknown to anyone, I thought,|
|思ひそめしか||Omoi someshi ka||I had only just begun to love her!|
Mibu no Tadami, the author, was said to be so distraught over losing the contest that he wasted away and died, though this story may not have actually happened. Mostow points out in his book that additional poems by the author suggest that he was alive and well for many years to come.
Mostow also points out that even though the poem won 2nd place, it has been highly prized throughout the ages, just as poem 40 has been.
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