Poems of Meng Jiao
Responding to Vassal Li's "Fragrance in an Ancient Glass"
A fistful of river lilies,
Uprooted jade -- how refreshing.
Immortal feelings, already stong in the dawn.
Poem's fragrance now more intense.
I try a taste -- moon enters my bones.
Another sip and I awake from my sorrows.
Lotus Lord upon the true old way
Leads me to fly upon wings of virtue.
In the title, I have translated 员外 as "vassal." This originally meant one who was appointed by a pre-empire king to govern a city in order to maintain his power in that place. It usually went to family members, but not always. The Chinese fengjian system (封建) was analogous to Western feudalism without being more than superficially similar to it. This "vassal" title, like many old titles, lasted for hundreds of years and assumed new meanings, none of which are particularly clear in the dictionaries and other sources. For example, Bai Juyi's title in banishment was originally a military appointment, something like a quartermaster. His job was more like "one who comes around once a month to make sure no one has plundered the imperial warehouses."
This poem above is a response poem. This means that it is probably a regulated verse (note that no characters are repeated unless in a single bigram) matching the form and rhyme-scheme of Li's poem. Other poets I have translated would do this sort of thing pretty often. Sometimes it became a game that went back and forth, increasing in difficulty. For Meng Jiao, if we can judge by what is preserved of his work, this is an unusual gesture.