Poems of Meng Jiao
(Of how the landscape merges with our reluctance to part.)
Pine-covered mountains. Lingering clouds.
A wandering road cut by the river.
Clouds depart. The sun returns.
For river partings, never a good time.
It's the spring fragrances that force our tears,
As spring's colors soften everything we see.
Sky willows, earth willows, weave our parting sadness
With a thousand, no, ten thousand threads of thought.
There are really two poems here, a poem of the physical world and a poem of a shared interior world. I have leaned toward the interior one. And I have tried to show some of the nuances of the characters. For example, "poplars and willows" (杨柳) can also be "willows with upward curving branches and willows with drooping branches." The skyward and riverward branches would weave a pattern in the visual world, striking the eyes before entering thought. The last character of the poem, "silk" (丝), refers to "willow silk" (柳丝), the thread-like discharge of willow blossoms, like the cottonwood's cotton in North America. Silk (丝 si1), in poetry, is often a pun on "thought(s)" (思 si1), which in poetry is often "thoughts of missing you." Even on the surface, this poem is original in much of its usage of characters. Meng Jiao is again cliché-free. Although, he is happy to pun on a cliché. "Spring breezes," which can also mean "sex" is chun1feng1. If there is a more clichéd bigram in Tang poetry, I am unaware of it. Meng Jiao puns on this with "spring fragrances" or chun1fang1. Whether this suggested, to the discerning scholar, the "smell of sex" is more than I can say. Perhaps it did and Meng Jiao is jerking their chain.