Poems of Meng Jiao
Escorting my cousin Omissioner Jian as he returns to the South
(Written while wandering east)
Chang'an's parting way seems to
Begin in a corner of the eastern wall.
Stalks of wildflowers not yet dead.
Sad hearts of men already withered.
Almost dusk upon a river landscape,
Road disappears into the far horizon.
We begin by following it into dawn's gloaming
Always driven hard by life and livelihood.
Ride north until you reach the mountains
Or sail south, trusting in the wilds.
Then take one great step further,
A thousand leagues all in an instant.
Jian is clearly Meng Jiao's favorite young relative. Of course, young here could mean in his early forties. But here Meng is not with Jian. Here again we have Meng out wandering (east) in the wilds. And his farewell poem to Jian is not so much about Jian as it is an archetypal poem of our wandering into and through life.