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Title: Twenty Years

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: 1888

Publication information: The Magazine of Art (August 1888): [348].

Source: Our transcription is based on a digital image of a microfilm copy of an original issue.

Whitman Archive ID: per.00046

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang and Susan Belasco




image 1

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
recking 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?)
WALT WHITMAN.

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