Poems of Meng Jiao
Searching the writings of monks
Nothing but moss for leagues around.
No trace of busyness at all.
Only scholars at their open windows,
Writing their only life and livelihood.
Notes of clattering bamboo fill the emptiness.
Wildflowers follow with their clustered softness.
When frost drapes itself upon the grove of trees,
Only these men know the pure green pines.
I have a confession to make. The above translation is a pretty mask over the stark face of my having no idea what's actually being said here. I've had moments like this before, here and there, in these Tang poems. But this is a case where the dictionaries so repeatedly fail and anachronistically mislead that all I can do is put a brave face on my ignorance.
Translation relies heavily on common humanity to overcome the changes in language over time. Go back two hundred years and you find that, in your own language, words mean vastly different things. Go back fourteen centuries to another language and imagine the difficulties. Translation, at all times, is probably a bit of a sham, as we smooth over these differences in the name of "common humanity" and self-deceptively call it good.
Take the second quatrain above: 萧屑, which I make simply "emptiness," is probably a lost bigram; 蒙茸 now means "fluffy" so I go with "clustered softness" but it may be a literary or religious allusion to something else; "frost draped upon all the trees" (披霜入众木) could be, in whole or in part, an allusion to poetry or scripture; and "know the green pines" (识青松) permits of several intepretations even given my level of ignorance and almost has to be an allusion, given the frequency of the phrase 青松.