Poems of Meng Jiao
Car Far Far
The road's nice till it ends at the river
And then you can still take a boat.
Boat or cart, either one takes you
Somewhere you'd rather not go.
A man wants to go in all directions
While a woman is contented to stay.
I'd rather spend another day talking
And put off the worries of the way.
Flying geese will burst out at the moon.
Lonely apes will cry out in the cold.
Tonight, I will dream of you dreaming
Of our reading together at home.
I send you these tears come unbidden
And my hate of this rattling cart.
I wish I could trade with the driver
And drive us right back to the start.
Ooooh, there I go rhyming again. What about that title? Meng Jiao is playing with it and so am I. Yao2yao2 (遥遥) is almost always treated as an adverb. And cart or chariot (车) is no verb. In Meng Jiao's time it was a cart and he isn't being driven around in it like he was Kongzi. He's being bounced around in it like he was baggage. He's leaving his first wife (again?) to go work somewhere briefly and he's not happy about it.
There's a weird tendency in translators to always treat 妾 as an (inferior) woman and 君 as a (superior) man. I'm sure it's a fantasy thing. Another part of that fantasy is that poets' wives cringe and do the housework while the poet hangs out with singing girls. So far, all the evidence points in the opposite direction. Bai Juyi was crazy about his wife. Meng Jiao was crazy about his first wife (second wife has yet to make an appearance in these first 12% of his poems). Same for women: Yu Xuanji was crazy about her ex-husband in a way that should make all ex-husbands jealous. I find that 妾 is generally the author of the poem and 君 is the person addressed. That person is usually a friend. When it's a wife, it's probably still a friend.
If you read Chinese, you are probably puzzled by my handling of 百城楼. Literally, it is "hundred cities tower." But the only pairing of the first two characters in my dictionaries is 百城坐拥, an idiom for reading a boatload of books. And the place you read a lot is usually your own little tower, your home. And poets, I'm talking good poets here, don't marry illiterate drabs. So it appears Meng Jiao and his wife sat around a lot, reading out loud together, when they could. Jealous?