Poems of Meng Jiao
Entertaining my friends with a new style of writing
For the wanderer without a place of rest,
He finds himself in the dark of the moon.
Profuse clouds obscure the blue heavens
And snow falls and a pure wind blows.
Suburbs and fields exhaust the wanderer.
He wants to break new ground where all is uncertain,
Where the plow ox returns to village lanes
And wild birds perch on the windowsills.
I'm not worried about hunger or cold,
My body nurtured in a lotus palace,
Carefree, maintained by my Chan master's teachings,
No matter how often obscuring dust returns.
Look at the ancient songs of Chu,
Brilliant words that flow and harmonize.
Their singing cannot be exhausted --
With sudden enlightenment, soul and body empty.
It's easy to love Meng Jiao. He's so direct and honest and true to himself. This poem may seem to come from earlier, perhaps in his thirties, during his wanderings. But it is just as likely to be properly collated here, with him in his fifties. As, essentially, the empire lets him skip work and write poetry, he could be up in a mountain village in the winter cold, meditating and singing Qu Yuan's Songs of Chu and writing poetry.