Poems of Meng Jiao
Escorting Daoist Wu Huai, who travels to Fuchun River's landscape
(Written as a farewell to Monk Wu Yi who returned to the mountains)
Blessings on your remote heights.
On Fuchun river, gaze down in solitude.
Dense mountains, sprinkled with green wine.
Plunging river, a wreckage of pearls.
Creek's mirror does not hide its vigor.
Trees' garments, long accustomed to the chill.
Wind gibbons fly past in the void.
Moon mandrills greet your with their bitterness.
I believe this is the Immortals' Road.
How could this peace be worldly?
Transmuting gold in the fires of Creation.
Confining evil upon the starry altar.
These blossoms are as yet unknown to me,
This jade birth that springs forth in abundance.
Penglai floats upon the waves,
Its way not too demanding for you.
Meng Jiao is so sweet. He couldn't be more Buddhist. But here, for his daoshi friend, he writes a poem that couldn't be more Daoist. Lines 11 and 12 refer to internal alchemy, Penglai is the island home of immortals, somewhere near Japan. His describing a plunging river as a "wreckage of pearls" is beautiful as are mountains "sprinkled with green wine." The green here is not regular green (绿) but 翠, the green of a kingfisher's feathers. The apes are puzzling. Both are actually gibbons. The second is a long-nosed variety, the description of which suggests mandrills in English. But whether the wind and moon are part of their Chinese names or part of Meng Jiao's poetry is more than I can say.