Poems of Meng Jiao
Distant Sadness Blues
Floating, wandering, I don't know where I started.
The graves you left behind, I haven't found them yet.
I travel where no men are seen
And do my weeping among the undying pines.
This place is at the end of time.
This sorrow, it cannot be contained.
My cries pass beyond the great, white clouds.
My tears wash blue mountain peaks.
I ford rivers and the rivers sing.
I climb mountains that go on and on forever.
I want to ask the mysterious dark moon
To come inspect my useless daily progress.
In titles, 诗 means "poem." 吟 means "chanted poem." Some people think 吟 means "poetry set to a given tune" but that is 辞 or 词, depending on who you ask. 曲 means "tune" or "song" and, really, it means "blues." The Chinese musical scale is pentatonic, bluesy. There are audio tracks in the 四大名捕 movies and in the 2001 笑傲江湖 which could have been written and performed by Ry Cooder. The Chinese know the blues. In Chinese, the dark of the moon is also the dark of the soul or 魄. White (白) can be another word for "useless," just as in English, blue can be another word for "sad." As has been the case before, the final two lines of Meng Jiao's poem are extraordinary.