Walt Whitman: Twenty Years

Twenty Years

Down on the ancient wharf, the sand, I sit, with a new-comer chatting: He shipp'd as green-hand boy, and sail'd away, (took some sudden,     vehement notion;) Since, twenty years and more have circled round and round, While he the globe was circling round and round, —and now returns: How changed the place—all the old land-marks gone—the parents dead; (Yes, he comes back to lay in port for good—to settle—has a     well-fill'd purse—no spot will do but this;) The little boat that scull'd him from the sloop, now held in leash I see, I hear the slapping waves, the restless keel, the rocking in the sand, I see the sailor kit, the canvas bag, the great box bound with brass, I scan the face all berry-brown and bearded—the stout-strong frame, Dress'd in its russet suit of good Scotch cloth: (Then what the told-out story of those twenty years? What of the future?)