The Tang Dynasty was a high point of culture in ancient China. Especially esteemed were poems. There was no home coming or leave taking; no event too small to not be commemorated with a poem.
of the best poems of that period have been collected into an anthology
known as The 300 Tang Dynasty Poems. A online version of the anthology
may be found here. Today we have #59 A Song of White Snow in Farewell to Field Clerk Wu Going Home
The north wind rolls the white grasses and breaks
And the Eighth-month snow across the Tartar sky
a spring gale, come up in the night,
Blowing open the petals of
ten thousand peartrees.
It enters the pearl blinds, it wets the
A fur coat feels cold, a cotton mat flimsy;
Bows become rigid, can hardly be drawn
And the metal of armour
congeals on the men;
The sand-sea deepens with fathomless ice,
And darkness masses its endless clouds;
But we drink to our
guest bound home from camp,
And play him barbarian lutes, guitars,
Till at dusk, when the drifts are crushing our tents
And our frozen red flags cannot flutter in the wind,
him through Wheel-Tower Gate going eastward.
Into the snow-mounds
of Heaven-Peak Road....
And then he disappears at the turn of the
Leaving behind him only hoof-prints.