Poems of Meng Jiao
A river town's spring rains, respectfully presented to Chen Daiyu
Along this northern river, frozen trees blossom.
All this rain makes for a messy spring.
It's enough to make things right with the world,
This floating here, like a pitiful, lonely wanderer.
It's beautiful what a wreck everyone is, and now
Someone's singing but it's hard to make out.
Beyond the edge of everything, distant regrets.
Tears of snow on a beautiful spring morning.
Sitting, weeping, on the new flowery grass.
Lying here, chanting, a remote river bank.
Right words should speak to the common ways,
Give up all their smug and shiny self-satisfaction.
Sick in bed, sheets and pillow soaked in sweat.
Eaves and pillars like flying cliffs.
I'm starting to see Wu's and Chu's southern rivers
Are not so good as Luoyang's dust.
I row on back, swaying through windy shallows.
Along the muddy shores, all's bogged down.
These two roads, these unsuccessful days,
We send each other tear-soaked rags.
I've tried really hard not to spoil this poem. Which is impossible to do without it sounding like utter nonsense. But I've kept my hands off it as best I could. The poem is like a long jazz riff. It kind of has echoes of things without the usual literary allusions or veiled critiques. Just echoes, images, feelings. It's not long enough to be Coltrane. But it's kind of a Coltrane moment.