Poems of Meng Jiao
A parting cup with Lu Ce who returns to his country home
In these short pines, cranes won't nest
And the clouds won't stay on these high rocks.
Today you leave the waters of Chu --
My thoughts and clouds and cranes go with you.
Strength will see you through dangerous places.
Clear shallow creeks will welcome you.
With your body clothed in fig leaves,
You will climb the mountains' mossy stairs.
A single scroll of excellent writings is
What I would carry to escape the ordinary.
Many of Meng Jiao's poems from this period have titles beginning with 送. This means "to escort or see off." It can mean accompanying someone out your gate, or out the gate to a nearby inn for a drink, or to the nearest border. Bai Juyi, who as an official couldn't leave his prefecture, would accompany Yuan Zhen to the border in order to see him off. In the last poem, Meng Jiao escorted two young exam-passers through the wilderness to the nearest town. And here, combined with 豆, which usually means "beans" but here means "ceremonial wine cup," Meng Jiao is seeing someone off and sharing a final drink. While they could be saying goodbye in an inn, it is just as likely that they've ridden out to the border on horses and have poured their cups by the riverbank.
It should always be remembered that traveling in the Tang had its dangers, both of men and of wildness. There was no certainty at parting that you would see that person again.