Poems of Meng Jiao
Down with the Fever
Poor and sick, I try to eat something good.
Same old bed, with no new warmth.
Spring outside, I burn for a warm embrace
But at eating time, my throat's too sore.
Tired in bed, thoughts all gone rowdy,
Try too speak but it comes out whispery soft.
I'd be pleased to see you, for even a moment.
I could cry but don't dare let myself go.
I'm drawing you from memory, deep in my mind.
Hurt so much this morning, can't hurt no more.
Okay, the real title is "Bedsick." But fever is the character in the middle of line 3. And something in line 2 reminded me of Booker White's "Down with the Fever." Next thing I knew, same theme was coming through here as there -- missing a woman. So I ran with it. It wasn't even a stretch. Yeah, you could take it as if he's just sick in bed. But you can take every Tang poem about six ways. I'm putting my money on "missing a woman." I'm picturing him here, playing his qin with a backbeat, singing so loud neighbors bang rhythm on the walls.