Poems of Meng Jiao
Grieving for my child
The gates of wild yellow sage are shut.
I no longer hear the things around me.
Your life is scattered to the winds.
Your brittle bones will turn to dust.
I carried for ten years your blessing.
I owe you a thousand tracks of tears.
I'll scatter them upon this northern plain.
No need for autumn's winds to arrive.
Chinese characters being what they are, there were other ways to translate this poem. But no other approach would remain consistent to the end of these eight lines. So it seems, to me, that Meng Jiao, who is now around sixty, must have remarried and had a child when he was around fifty. We know that he remarried about then. But I don't think anyone mentions he had a child. And that child has just passed on as he writes this poem.
黄蒿 is "yellow artemisia," a kind of wild sage. I don't know what the "gates of yellow sage" would be. But I have been thinking about those cranes (鶴) recently. You will recall that, several times, Meng Jiao equated men with cranes, symbolically. And I couldn't make sense of the symbol. Because 鶴 usually refers to Daoist immortals who fly away to Heaven on cranes. And Meng Jiao has a purely Buddhist heart. But I can't find another meaning for 鶴. Anywhere. So perhaps, when Meng Jiao uses this idea, he is using the idea of "a fully-realized man" in his usual ecumenical way.
I didn't mean to thrust the crane thing so awkwardly into this poem. But we are coming up on the end of things, Meng-Jiao-wise, and I didn't want to leave my recent thoughts of cranes unsaid.