Poems of Meng Jiao
Mourning the spring plums of my old home in Jiangnan
I think of you with your strength run out,
Away now from your nurturing grace.
I can't help that I was boorish then.
Life's whipped me. You can see death's scars.
Old retainer, I've always respected you.
These regrets of mine are enough to engulf a man.
Recklessly, I got myself stuck in the mud,
Cut off from the source of my instruction.
It seems to me that this poem is about someone who raised Meng Jiao, back in the family home. It's pretty certain that Meng Jiao and his first wife ran off west to get married. So one can assume that Meng Jiao and his father didn't exactly get along. It sounds like the old man in the poem was a father figure to Meng Jiao. Perhaps a man who tried to help Meng Jiao do right. Which Meng Jiao didn't do, apparently. But Meng Jiao never forgot him. Perhaps the man was the family gardener, who cared for the plum trees. It's no good to let these suppositions carry us away. But the poem suggests something along these lines. So some of our guesses are probably correct.