Poems of Meng Jiao
Great Obscurity Temple -- Secretary Zhao begins his task of negating things
Inferior, inactive, from an ancient family,
He was good, mostly, at destroying things.
He it was who brought the engines to the river
And, robustly, reduced the temple to ashes.
Great Way, Mother of All Things,
Wisdom of Man, Nurisher of the Multitude...
When chanting in the days of Yao and Shun,
Hearts opened to nature's effortless way.
Their secret was a myriad mountain hymns.
My secret is this cup of wine.
Where their great courtyard used to be
Every day a pure wind blows through.
I think Meng Jiao has been drinking. I think he has been writing poems about 大隐坊's destruction by the government all day today. He wrote the first poem sober, perhaps. And then he had a little glass of wine (which in China is actually hard liquor of various kinds). Then he wrote a second poem, accompanied by another glass or few. And then he wrote this one when he was fully in his cups. A verse belittling the man in charge of destroying the temple. A maudlin verse of the Great Way, or Buddhist Law, in which Daoism and the ancient mythical kings slip in, thanks to alcoholic lubrication. And then a final verse, in the clarity of full drunkeness, which perhaps mourns the temple's loss better than any of the previous poems' verses did.