Poems of Meng Jiao
Mocking the Spider
All earth's creatures have their nature.
Each receives its blessing from above.
Silkworms have their form. You have yours.
But yours -- what a mistake!
Silworm's body is nothing like yours
And yours is nothing like his.
A silkworms' silk is for clothing.
Yours is just a rough net.
Helpful things all have their merits.
Harmful ones -- we already have too many.
So what if one hundred bugs buzz badly?
How does that do anything for you?
This poem is an excellent example of flagrant disregard for the rules of regulated poetry. It is excessive beyond Meng Jiao's normal free approach to poetry. I think he's making a point here. Some poet (the spider) has apparently critiized Meng Jiao's poems for their lack of conservativism. So Meng Jiao gives him both barrels (allusion to a shotgun). The poem repeatedly addresses the spider as 汝 which dictionaries usually define as "thou." It's the kind of thing you use with your wife, like "darling" or "dear." Meng Jiao is using it here to irritate his critic.