Poems of Meng Jiao
Wizard Mountain Heights
Eyesight founders in this vastness.
Crying gibbons no longer can be heard.
Here, there is only rain and desolate wind
And the exaltation of one's own soul.
Thousands have written of Chu's king's regrets.
Their words are left to us as treasures.
Today, they promise us a brighter future,
An assurance of entering that deep small door.
I think that this poem and the last, also about Wizard Mountain, are early poems of Meng Jiao. They are practice poems, written possibly one after the other as he sat on the mountain. It's hard to say, though, whether his hopes for tomorrow are political or spiritual. It would help if I knew what the King of Chu regretted. The bigram 宋玉 can be the precious jewel found in Daoist practice. And 闺门, which is usually "women's chambers" or "women," can be "small door," by which is meant "the threshold of spiritual progress." Given the exalted soul (亭亭魂), perhaps his hopes are spiritual. Although, I don't mean this in an anachronistic or Christian sense. The Chinese 魂 or sky-soul is scarcely what the West means by "soul." I am also starting to think that Three Noise Gibbon (三声猿) is a proper noun, i.e. what they called these apes along the rivers.