Poems of Meng Jiao
Suddenly, happily, Lu Tong and his book boat return to Luoyang
Suddenly poor Meng is no longer poor.
Hey, Meng, how does it feel?
Lu Tong and his boat are back in town.
Lofty man still publishing books.
Luo's current, pure and overturning.
Huai's current like glacial jade.
Always steady, night and morning.
Mornings, its goodness ever unfolds.
Luo and Huai are gentlemen's rivers,
Seeing us off with humanity to spare.
I leave in my official clothes and
Shoulder my way into your cabin.
You mutter I should act my age.
Your words pour out like jewels.
Jewels that ring in their fine lines
Or dance like magpies in the yard.
Book boat quietly returns.
Bringing joyful news from our old home.
I want to gather some firewood
For this nest of yours and its emptiness.
Let's not mourn the encroaching dust
But rise and dwell in colored clouds.
Life ever always chains us down.
But the good and just are not in vain.
I don't want lofty heights.
I just want my work to be true.
Truth and emptiness, both profound.
Their differences nurture each other.
Good books are falling into desolation.
Your work is the opposing force.
No one dare call your struggle selfish.
You pass on the legacy of all.
What in heaven's name is 肩经? Or 巢经? "Shoulder Classic" and "Nest Classic"? Idioms for "shouldering one's way through" and "living in a bird's (rat's) nest"? Or maybe cryptic personal references between friends? Or simply lost usages of 1300 year-old speech? At least the sense I've made of the mysteries are of a piece with what can be known of the above. So it's your usual translation, when you get right down to it. But "Shoulder Classic"?