Poems of Meng Jiao
Accompanying a Daoist
A thousand years of walking in the mountains,
Upon the mountains never leaves a trace.
One day's wandering the world of men and
One meets everything under the sun.
You have the companions you could wish for.
In this pure cold, go on with them forever.
The first four lines are pretty unambiguous. But the last two lines could also be:
You have the companions you wished for butOr "...it's useless to remain together" or "remaining with them is in vain." Any of which would point to Meng Jiao making a point about the Daoist's choice of associates in some sphere. But I don't think this is the case.
In this pure cold, their company is useless.
Companions could also be singular. Meng Jiao could be talking about himself as the companion. I think he is. And so, as I have translated it, Meng Jiao is again with someone who complains of the hardships of travel. And Meng Jiao encourages him to relax and get along. It occurs to me that, given the dangers of his time, it might be the case that these escortings are rarely just two men alone together. One might always go at least in threes or fours for the added protection. But this is mere speculation, but speculation which does however explain why I have made companions plural. One should have the courage of one's convictions.