Poems of Meng Jiao
Climbing Flower Cliff Monastery Tower, gazing over Taiyi mountains, for my omissioner brothers
From the spine of the second highest ridge,
You see it towering aloft in the mists.
Tower's base penetrates the clouds.
Temple's wings soar into high emptiness.
Mountain's base enveloped in vital energy,
Mysterious, increasing without cease.
Overwhelming everything in nature,
Its grace overcomes Five Sacred Mountains' hero.
One gaze and you awake from worldly cares.
We climb again, worshipping immortal transcendence.
Three Li Bais, together,
We share the enjoyment of the morning's beauty.
Three things about this poem. First, Meng Jiao appears to have been promoted from lowly scroll diver to an ommisioner. This happened to Bai Juyi as well. Second, he seems to be substituting 信佛 (Buddhism) for 古文 (classical literature). Being an eternal idealist, he clings to something in his search for his freedom of voice. I say this as it seems like there are Buddhist references in all poems since Autumn Mind. But I think this is only a phase. There is no Buddhism in Mourning the Gorges. So I suspect he gains his freedom. And third, Meng Jiao is at this monastery with two of his poet friends and he refers to their group as Three Li Bais. The phrase 青莲居士 is one of the popular titles given to Li Bai, who Meng Jiao considered something of a twit. In Meng Jiao's defense, Li Bai was certainly a master sentimentalist and a profound alcoholic, dying drunk, drowning on a boat trip, reaching for the moon. 青莲三居士 could be translated as "three lay brothers of the Blue Lotus" but I think this is another dig at Li Bai. So I suspect the three poets, who on work days are ommisioners, are sitting on a cliff's edge, passing a bottle, and watching the sun come up over the Taiyi, or Zhongnan, mountains.