Poems of Meng Jiao
Happiness with educated men, staying at Scholar Li's small hill pavilion by the pond
Lamp goes out. Conversation continues.
In the distance, our host's courtyard stone steps.
Willow branches and fading stars in the dawn.
Orchid leaves glistening with dew.
Rocky hill smiles on our dark gathering.
Still pond lets us drift with its flow.
As I get to know these tranquil men,
I give up chanting and strive to be one of them.
Meng Jiao describes his companions as 清净子, those purified of defiling illusion. But I don't think he is here with Buddhist monks. In the title, he calls them 长文上人, "men who have long been upon the way of culture." The final line, 逸唱颇难俦, breaks into "flee from chanting (poetry)" and "very difficult companion." But in Chinese, most nouns are also verbs. As are most adjectives. In fact, almost everything is a verb. Walter Benjamin would approve of this, I'm sure. So we have "very difficult to companion" which places them, in Meng Jiao's mind, above him as he strive upwards.