Poems of Meng Jiao
Graduate Yuwen's Lake-Willow song at the banquet
Jade wisps of luxuriant green
Combine into the form of fragrant trees.
Suddenly, the bright moon's crescent
Pierces their coral reef of branches.
The glimmer of this undying light,
The misty and eternal willow threads.
The floating immortal fragrance of the elms.
The sighing of the orchids, like ancient poetry.
Winter winds will sough, pure and clean,
And then you will be sorely missed.
A response to graduate Yuwen's poetry at a banquet. Yuwen will be going on either to the capital for higher tests or to an appointment elsewhere in the prefecture. It is hard to grasp the reality of educated and cultured men gathering at banquets where they chant poetry to each other, accompanying themselves on the qin or se. Staying up late. Eating good food. Drinking bottle after bottle of 酒, which while usually translated as "wine" is much more diverse and stronger than wine, like the immense variety of local brandies and liqueurs made at harvest time in France (until banned by monopolists in the EU). But then how could such a scene be imagined by a global society that goes out to eat agribusiness commodity food in chain-franchise restaurants filled with blaring TV screens?