Poems of Meng Jiao
Hearing the night cries -- sent to Liu Zhengyuan
I send tears. I should send Yellow River's springs.
But here, the wails rise up to Heaven.
These sad people have only street lanterns to see by.
I send you this letter from home, pierced with teardrops.
I think the poems of Meng Jiao are evidence of how unstable the empire was after An Lushan. That rebellion occurred when Meng Jiao was only a boy. But it was followed by another revolt which threw the next emperor out of Chang'an again. And then more struggles and revolts among the five big district commanders, who mostly wanted to be emperors too. To the north, the Uighurs maintained their pressure of incursions. And to the northwest, the Tibetan armies continued to mainly defeat the Tang. And in all of this disarray, banditry was on the rise so that, at least once, Meng Jiao had to kill someone just to get home. From the above poem, we can see that, while mortal existence is a constant state of fear, in some periods fear becomes generally acute. As the third line says, the sun never rises.