Poems of Meng Jiao
On Wei River, Thinking of Return
Alone, searching for a distant faith,
I turn to look back up this long river.
My home is in the Warring States to whom
I send my tears on these southeast waves.
The repeated opportunity to say, "Chu again," is showing me how far our minds are from the minds of the Tang. As I pointed out, somewhat jokingly, in the last poem, these Tang minds are framed by a political situation twelve-hundred years old. It is both an intellectual and an emotional framework, this identifying with Chu and Wu. The strength of this identification is shown by Meng Jiao's title phrase "Thinking of Return."
It would be interesting to survey all the Tang poems, perhaps programatically, to determine with which of the Warring States the Tang poets never identify themselves with. And then to determine what elements in the identified-with states are explicitly spelled out in the poems. We know they identify the flight of Chu's king with the An Lushan flight of Xuanzong. There are probably more parallels to discover.
But I doubt this is anything as simple as a code of using old values for new values. These poems lack the critical nature which would call for that kind of deniability. It is more as if the poets are painting themselves into an ancient landscape.