Old Salt Kossabone (Poem by Walter Whitman)

Suggested Poem

Old Salt Kossabone
By Walter Whitman


Far back, related on my mother’s side,
Old Salt Kossabone, I’ll tell you how he died:
(Had been a sailor all his life — was nearly 90 — lived with his married grandchild, Jenny;
House on a hill, with view of bay at hand, and distant cape, and stretch to open sea;)
The last of afternoons, the evening hours, for many a year his regular custom,
In his great arm chair by the window seated,
(Sometimes, indeed, through half the day,)
Watching the coming, going of the vessels, he mutters to himself — And now the close of all:
One struggling outbound brig, one day, baffled for long — cross-tides and much wrong going,
At last at nightfall strikes the breeze aright, her whole luck veering,
And swiftly bending round the cape, the darkness proudly entering, cleaving, as he watches,
“She’s free — she’s on her destination" — these the last words — when Jenny came, he sat there dead,
Dutch Kossabone, Old Salt, related on my mother’s side, far back.

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