Poems of Meng Jiao
The four seasons drain away
And all the rivers surge east.
Youth leaves me, never to return and
Grey hairs grow faster than I can pluck them.
Wise men know all the changes:
How to turn sadness into boisterous song,
How to answer failure with a good long drunk,
And that the rich can't help us poor.
But they can see that in our mansions of dust,
Our riches and honor are untainted.
And so, at forty or thereabouts, Meng Jiao passes his imperial exams with about as much enthusiasm as any of us expected. He has the usual Tang horror of grey hair, the usual poet's esteem for wine, and has put his long-treasured youth to rest. Still, I doubt he's actually a grown-up now who will fit right in with all the other grown-ups.