Poems of Meng Jiao
Another Night on the Ridge. And I'm Lonely.
(Written to show you what I'm like)
On the south, few level places.
Mountain river turns ever on itself.
Another spring is playing a myriad tunes.
My bewildered boat struggles on alone.
Four great crevices split this ridge.
Looking ahead, nothing but troubles.
Faster water, winter and summer cold.
Day or night, dazzling bright.
It's long been hard to satisfy the heart.
Suddenly a strange feeling comes to me.
Ancient trees tremble and clear the air.
A high wind sounds the voice of autumn.
Drink a bottle of wine for me
And make all my worries light.
Tell me where we can be together.
In this dawn, I can tell you my feelings.
I'm going out on a limb here. But the final verse and an intepretation of the parenthetical note in its light suggest this is written to his second wife-to-be. We met her in the third poem which was miscollated by the collators. Here, I think, she is again. Translating the note in a more straightforward way makes the 嘉期 in line 15 a bit awkward as it is suggestive of a tryst. I think he's courting his second wife.
This poem raises another question, actually. If, as their titles suggest, this poem and the last one are from the same trip, then it looks like Meng Jiao and maybe a servant hauled a boat up East Ridge so that Meng Jiao could run the rapids. The last poem could be written with horses and travelers in the plural. And Meng Jiao is apparently alone here in the boat. And boats don't get to the source of mountain rivers by themselves. We know he loves the wilderness from earlier poems. I rest my case.