Poems of Meng Jiao
Taking rough-brush calligraphy to show the monks on Lu Mountain
Monks are not made mad on wine but on
The mad brush that penetrates Heaven.
Its words are written on dawn's red clouds,
Rising to the purest, brightest peaks.
From this hand, black lightning flies.
From beyond appearances flows a mysterious spring.
All sentient beings follow in an instant and
The lights of Heaven return to their beginnings.
It gathers its poetry onto towering clouds,
Washes its inkstone in mountains' bright freshness.
The sudden passion of these deadly ink snakes
Spreads out like smoke upon the wind.
The river-boatmen want to stop this brush,
Fearing its violent waves would swamp their boat.
It would figure that, in such a fiery poem, a character would be missing. The character at end of line 9 is apparently only available in the utf-16 fontsets. But I can't find an uncorrupted one to identify. Perhaps it is illegible in the scrolls. I haven't tried to guess at what it was. The translated line simply uses what is there. Parallel construction shows that, because the following line uses "pure mountain's freshness," the missing character parallels "freshness." So the line would be "Gather poetry into towering (or dense) clouds' [something]."
I have translated 书 or "writing, books, script" as "poetry" in this poem. The rough-hand calligraphers were generally painters and their writings were often poetry in their paintings or simply poems. I have translated Zhang Xu and Mi Fu in order to see the quality of mind of such men. Mi Fu is from the Song Dynasty. But Zhang Xu preceded Meng Jiao by a generation, more or less. His dates of birth and passing are unknown. But he was a friend of Du Fu and was one of the eight wine immortals in Du Fu's famous poem. All these men would have passed through the An Lushan rebellion. So it is possible that these poems carried to Lu Mountain are Zhang Xu's. Note that rough-hand script is often incorrectly translated as grass-hand. The same character is used for "the grass and wildflowers in Nature" and for "rough" as in "rough draft." Grass as we know it, with its lawnmower fetish, is a creation of the English country garden.