Poems of Meng Jiao
With envoy Minister Mao, escorting teacher Pei to Henan
Henan has a returning exile.
River winds ruffle his clothes.
Out here, we can't here the world as
Cranes dance to the sound of our old lutes.
River plants swirl around our Chu-style oars.
Sun's glory is precisely at its height.
How about we thank our teacher
With a song of travelers' return?
Here 文学, "literature," appears to be used as a title for "teacher." The lutes are the old se4 (瑟) not the new qin2 (琴). And, as this is probably Meng Jiao's boat on the river, it's not surprising that even the boat's oars are in an old Chu style.
Not only is Meng Jiao the go-to person for comfort after failing exams, he is the go-to person for being escorted through the wilderness in a possibly custom-made Chu-style boat. And where Bai Juyi drinks with the political elite in his home, Meng Jiao takes them to sing as they float through the wilderness. Given the long list of ministers and such in his titles, he must have been a very popular traveling companion. Either that or he was the only one with the skill to get you where you were going in one piece.
It would be interesting to know more about his boats. He and a servant hauled one boat up into the mountains so that Meng Jiao could shoot river rapids. And that is probably a smaller boat than the one he escorts people in. How many boats does he have? And what does he take with him into his beloved wilderness? And how does he carry it? These private things are beneath his poetic notice. Too bad he wasn't a bit more like Nessmuk and educated us in the ways of Tang outdoorsmanship.