Poems of Meng Jiao
Early morning moon finds it hard to shine.
Anxious and sad people find it hard to feel.
Who says everything blooms in the spring?
I only see the frost on the leaves.
The really talented don't have my problems.
Even ordinary people soar on their wings.
Rejection follows rejection.
I feel like I've been stabbed inside.
Meng Jiao didn't come to Chang'an until he was forty. He didn't pass his normal exams until he was forty-six. Even then he had no connections in the empire. So he took the Guaranteed Job exam and was finally employed at fifty. He kind of makes me feel good about myself.
Meng Jiao wants an imperial job about like he wants to clean bathrooms with his teeth. But -- and I think this is the only reason -- his mom is getting old. And we know how he loves his mom. Lots of guilt-tripping on Meng's part due to a Confucian upbringing. Once he finally gets a job (does this sound like a familiar phrase?), his mom lives with him until he dies. I'm pretty sure he dies in the midst of moving mom from one of his appointments to the next.
We, so far, know nothing about Meng Jiao's mother. But we all know mothers. They all have their good sides. And then there are those other sides. So we can all appreciate that the Chinese insisted you take a three-year vacation when your mom died. One imagines it as a kind of sad rebirth. This was an experience denied to Meng Jiao. In the scheme of things, mothers should die before sons. Not that I'm rushing anyone.
Vultures and ospreys (鵰鹗) in line 5 is paralleled by eastern wrens (鹪鹩) in line 6. The first is an idiom for very talented people (??). So the wrens must be people too, right? Rule of Thumb: It's never about the birds.