Poems of Meng Jiao
A reverent parting gift for the emissary's cottage in Jingling
Red sun burns in the distance
And in that fire, the traveler's heart.
Who does not suffer from worry
For a traveler in such a wasteland?
Who could not be cool beneath the hill trees
Were it not for beasts of prey in the shadows?
Those who return recall the flat expanses
That stretch on beyond the mountain way.
You will know you're safe back home
When you can hear the Jian'an chants.
For parting, I pluck you this Chu blossom
That its fragrance may linger in your heart.
This poem is a reflection of several things we have learned about Meng Jiao. This is an official poem, written for a departing emissary from the south. He is apparently a Buddhist and an intellectual as well, considering the "reverent" in the title and the reference to the Han period of Jian'an culture, known for its writers. The poem shows that Meng Jiao is familiar with the emissary's life to some extent, which seems to be true in general for anyone who is anybody that passes through Meng Jiao's district. I suspect that Ouyang Xiu's story of Meng Jiao never working was an idle fantasy. Between writing official poems, guiding people regularly through the watery wilderness, and leading the occasional search and rescue effort, Meng Jiao more than pulls his official weight. And the poem also shows the constant pathos of parting during the Tang. It is never certain that the traveler will complete their journey and everyone feels this at parting.