Poems of Meng Jiao
For Teacher Zheng's Bream
Heaven and Earth enter one's deepest feelings
And one's sobs give birth to a tempest.
One's writing should be so profound.
Simple representation, I dismiss.
Boasting of the precious jewel in big words
Was Li Bai's wild and crazy talent.
But no room for frivolity in a sage's heart
When the work should be a blessing.
This day the effort of Teacher Zheng has
Given birth to a black dragon's pearl.
I would guess that this poem is in praise of a painting by Teacher Zheng. And the mention of blessing suggests that he is a Buddhist teacher. At least once before this, Meng Jiao has spoken deprecatingly of Li Bai. That he would do so in this poem could indicate that such an opinion was shared by Zheng. Perhaps it was even common. It could be that only after a long passage of time was Li Bai's work considered to be as fine as it is now assumed to be. It could be that for the Chinese, as for the West, he became the sentimental ideal of Chinese poetry.