Poems of Meng Jiao
Harmonious Light monks escort Graduate Guo, who goes to Jiangnan to visit friends
On Earth, spring's colors appear
And now poetry is full of splendor.
I cup in my hands a slice of precious moon
And my words are the praise of lofty monks.
Creek winds, a myriad-curved heart.
River flows, a thousand-league voice.
For whose departure are these flying birds' cries?
For the river geese, young brothers and elder.
Graduate Guo has passed the provincial exams. And it sounds like he's taking a provincial job. If you pass the provincial, you are sent as imperial tribute to take the imperial, if you wish. Or you can settle for less. But apparently, anyone could take the imperial exams without the provincial. At least, there is no mention of Meng Jiao taking any lesser exams. He took the imperial exam six times before he passed. As famous as he was by then, maybe he never passed...
Grader of Imperial Exams (taking up a new test): "Hey. Is this the real Meng Jiao? The big poet?
Supervisor of Graders: "Probably. It's that time of year."
Grader (flipping through Meng's test): "Doesn't look good. Nice poetry in the margins, though. What is this? His fifth try?"
Supervisor: "Sixth. (pause) Just pass it."
Supervisor: "Just mark it up passed and move on. I'm tired of explaining to their lordships why we had to fail their favorite poet again."
Tell me this couldn't have happened.