Poems of Meng Jiao
Up on the Pass with Schoolteacher Ding
In this snow, crying, then moaning,
Is our cultured Mister Ding.
A thousand miles from his southern home,
He has never seen cold like this.
Anyone can adapt to circumstance;
Then words spring from every living thing.
But I am such a soft-hearted man
His sorrows fill me, too.
Meng Jiao's sixth line here is extraordinary. It's like Van Gogh's expression of his own sense of color. It makes me wonder if this vivid sense of the world was born of Meng Jiao's wandering or was the reason for it in the first place. The final two lines are revealing as well. A sense of justice combined with empathy does give rise to a sadness which yearns for expression. Here is a hint for the motive behind "Mourning the Gorges" which should influence that long work's interpretation.