Poems of Meng Jiao
Escorting Qingyang monks traveling to Yue
Autumn winds blow the white hair of a
Frail official, in himself cold and lonely.
What use are the sighs of the river monks
When the once-rushing stream is cold and still.
In my Chu thoughts, everything is pure and clear
But these Yue mountains defy all approaches.
When I look at the moon in my mirror,
To myself, I rebuke what I have clothed myself in.
Many thanks to the geese who fly this night
And the smile they bring to this caged crane.
And still I yearn for the understanding of what the crane symbolizes to Meng Jiao.
Whatever is bothering Meng Jiao in this poem is not purely selfish. It effects the monks he is traveling with. I doubt if he is viewing himself as physically weak in line 2. If he was sick, he would tell us. He always does. So the sadness comes from something outside him, that the monks are aware of. Perhaps it is political in some sense as he brings in Chu and Yue. Line 8 is interesting. the two parts are 独向 and 衣上落. The first is "Alone, regarding" and the second is "clothes rebuke." You can see the sense I've made of it.