Poems of Meng Jiao
On Wide Xuzhou
As a river denied the sea,
How can I float on Heaven's waves?
As a tree denied the mountains,
How can I handle these hard times?
Finding myself again among gentlemen,
I begin to think upon the essentials.
Great virtue has only one motive but
I am partial to the feelings of the people.
Happiness arrives without an imperial summons.
Our voices arrive with songs of praise.
I want to play upon the strings of my wooden qin
And bring all things to eternal peace.
I've already tried to speak slow and plain.
It didn't get me anywhere.
Praise is only in the mouth.
You want it but it goes nowhere.
First poems spring out from love.
First poems, like lichen on the pines.
You don't edit them a thousand times.
Polish would spoil their nature.
So that was how I started out,
A big virtuous mind -- and then what?
How could I take the common road
When the common road is so hard to travel?
A private poem, I think. If the collators have it in the right place, this is the period that Meng Jiao was associating more and more with the established poets in Luoyang: Han Yu, Jia Dao, and others. We don't really know much about these times of his. Just that he became more a part of the literary world by associating more with others.