Poems of Meng Jiao
Parting feelings, escorting my cousin Jian, the Omissioner, who has passed another exam and is going home
Chang'an's carts and horses pass through
The mingling shadows of high scholar trees.
Below are many successful men
And one man with a genuine heart.
Yellow cranes have the strength to fly
To the gentle beaches of the far blue sea.
Harmonious as brothers, I watch you fade away
And with a clear voice sing of your return.
The water caltrops sing and burst into smiles.
My library's books turn to watch you go.
The pure wind scatters your laughing words
But not the flowers you've sewn upon my heart.
Lonely and sad as fish and bird part.
One flies away. One enters the depths.
We have seen how Meng Jiao treasures the remnants of his family. He may have run away from his father. But he is by now supporting his mother. His family is much smaller and poorer than in his father's time. This cousin Jian seems to be a particularly close friend, having appeared in more than one prior poem. This is a period of upheaval, of the An Lushan rebellion and its decades-long aftermath. Partings are poignant amidst all this violence. Travel is dangerous. And on top of all this, we should keep in mind that the Tang is one of the cultural peaks of mankind. Poetry and music are living forces which we can scarcely imagine. The immediacy of living art is, in our times, almost completely absent from the world. As is the depth of Tang scholarship, where the poetry of the past and present, in their fullness, is in each scholar's head.