Poems of Meng Jiao
Looking over the poems left behind by Cui Shuang for their quality of relaxed remoteness
Tears fall. So many poems.
My sadness joins you in your distant grave.
You've gone to Heaven. I remain here.
Broad daylight. Empty. Missing you.
Immortal crane, yet to nest on the moon.
Fading phoenix, first to fall from the clouds.
Honest, upright, rising in your own time.
Your old words, I seem to hear again.
Jade flowers no longer flourish.
Cassia blossoms lose their fragrance.
All things, and myself as well,
Together are moved by Wu River's shores.
We can make a few guesses about this poem. Cui Shuang could have been one of those influenced by Han Yu's old-style approach to poetry, as Meng Jiao was, and this would explain the reference to the river(s) in Wu Kingdom. Cui's distant grave suggests he died in banishment, as so many did, with his wife and family remaining behind in Luoyang where Meng Jiao is now. This is not the first batch of left-behind poems (遗文) Meng Jiao has recently surveyed. He seems to be the one the bereaved families go to when his old literary friends pass on. This is not making him a more cheerful person. Jade blossoms are the flowers of the immortal realm. Cassia is known for its healing qualities.
Where in most occurences of "crane" (鹤) I have wondered what Meng Jiao meant to symbolize (and recently decided he meant "fully-realized man"), it's symbolism is clear in this poem. "Immortal crane" is a reference to Daoist immortals and the cranes they fly off on. So we can assume Cui Shuang was a Daoist. Unless he is being purposefully ecumenical, Meng Jiao uses few references to Daoism and Confucianism as he is deeply and practically Buddhist.
"Mourning the Gorges" (峡哀), the first of his poems I translated and the reason I have translated all of Meng Jiao, follows this poem in the scrolls.