Poems of Meng Jiao
Answering Your Letter
This sprinkling of ink and tears is my letter
to be sent to my parents so far away.
Letter goes, my better self goes with it,
leaving me, abruptly, completely empty.
I believe we can take this poem completely at face-value. One of Meng Jiao's most famous poems is a heartfelt poem to his mother. I think this is another such. And, possibly, this is the entire contents of a response to a letter from his mother or parents. If that is so, this is probably from his years before his forties which he spent bumming around, chanting, in the southern provinces. Bumming around, their letter finds him and further bums him out. The bumming around part could be apocryphal. Or it could be a response to the death of his first wife. We'll have to see what evidence turns up in his poems.