Poems of Meng Jiao
Remembering My Jiangnan Younger Brothers
I gaze upon you only in my dreams.
My strength is still with me at times
But my soul remains in the east.
Your eyes shine in the bright stars when
I rise and gaze up at the eastern sky.
Gazing in vain, I don't see any people --
Only rivers flowing endlessly to the sea
Growing old, without inner strength.
Hollering, from time to time, or
Alone, remembering what was said, or
Falling to the ground -- can you understand?
We were taught by the same master
But in the end I'm an isolated old man.
Isolation -- I can't talk about it.
But dying? What good would that have been?
I can't bear to face your honest virtue.
So I punish this decaying rotten body.
Punishing myself is also useless.
You learn it never really lifts you up.
Working hard to walk with a cane now.
Plenty of life left and my bonds with you.
I won't be ashamed after I die.
Leaving death behind is also an end.
This poem is certainly miscollated in the scrolls. It belongs near the end. Meng Jiao is remembering the young monks he studied with in middle age. It's a private poem, I think. And one that needs no help from me.