Poems of Meng Jiao
Great Obscurity Temple -- General Zhang Chou completely abandons his meritous protection of the monks
(Written for Zhang Chou's military mission)
Your heart drank in the rivers and seas.
How were you to distinguish the depths?
You poured out the virtues of mountain peaks.
Who could completely attain such heights?
Eastern Sea's essence is the moon.
Hua Mountain's spirit is congealed gold.
Advance into a myriad of bright vistas.
Reatreat into the shadow of all living things.
I want to repeat these words --
Heaven's Gate is profoundly harsh.
Tempests and gratitude --
These compose this sighing chant.
Meng Jiao has written about General Zhang Chou before in an unflattering way. Zhang Chou may be Zhang Qiu. Or this may be General "Enemy of Written Culture." It's hard to tell. The 赠 in the prefatory note may mean Meng Jiao actually had this delivered to the general. It wouldn't surprise me because, a) Meng Jiao seems to be well regarded by the empire's officials above him and b) nothing beyond the title is inflammatory. He could well have sent this to the general and gotten away with it more or less unscathed. He was never banished as Bai Juyi was. But then he didn't marry into a highly political family the way Bai Juyi did. And because Meng Jiao tended, in all ways, to simply say what he thought, if the general complained, some minister might have just smiled and said, "Oh, please. It's just that Wildman of the East, Meng Jiao. He's quite a good poet, actually, don't you think?"