Poems of Meng Jiao
Spring gathering in Yue province at Graduate Huangfu's mountain pavilion
Where is our honored guest?
Raise the pavilion on spring's mountaintop.
I look back at all the silent lonely ones and
Feel it's wrong to mingle at this al fresco feast.
Senses are filled with this clear day.
I could sit in these sights and sounds forever.
Clear lake, mountain waterfall,
Blue waves, green of moss and duckweed.
Why indulge in high ambition?
For you I chant the autumn sky.
There is a lot of substance in these ten lines by Meng Jiao: an outdoor feast, honored guest, the silent lonely ones, Meng Jiao's conscience, Meng Jiao's senses and the satisfaction they give, what the senses are full of, his distaste for ambition, and a particular recipient for the poem.
We are left with two unanswerable questions -- who are the silent lonely ones and who is the poem written for. I can't even guess at the first one. Well, maybe I can. As one lives long enough, there are the growing number of fallen you have outlived. He could thinking of these. But that's only a guess.
We can make a few guesses about his intended audience. It could be the honored guest, newly exam-passed Huangfu. It could be a friend, such as Han Yu. A third real possibility is that it is written for his second wife, whoever she is. We've only seen her once, in the misplaced third poem, "A Frivolous Outing on Ba River." But a female companion is very important to Meng Jiao. He doesn't have many of them and he treasures the ones he has. So if he is away in Yue and his second wife is back home, this poem could very well be for her.
Oh, and the pavilion, in this case, could be a cloth awning brought up by cart. Maybe Huangfu had one in his garage...