Lenrie Peters's poem "Homecoming" is about nostalgia and the inevitability of change. In the opening stanza of the poem, the speaker says that "The present reigned supreme / Like the shallow floods over the gutters." The simile here, comparing the present to "shallow floods," suggests that change is ongoing. Indeed, even the present is emphasized as transitory. Its reign is referred to in the past tense ("reigned"), and it is "shallow" rather than deep. Water is also an appropriate image, as it suggests that time, including the present, continues to flow.
The seeming suddenness of change is also emphasized in the poem. In the second stanza, the speaker says that the change between the past and the present is "Too strange" and happens before one has time to ensure that one's memories are "properly arranged." The implication is that we usually do not notice the passing of time, so that when we occasionally do, it seems to have passed suddenly.
In the third stanza, the speaker alludes to the fact that the past and the present are connected, with the latter being informed and nourished by the former. The speaker says that the "sapless roots" of the past "have fed / The wind-swept seedlings of another age." This metaphor suggests that the present grows out of the past, just as a tree grows from its roots.
In the fourth stanza, the speaker returns to the idea that time is constantly moving. He says that the house that he used to occupy is now inhabited by "new skeletons." This is a metaphorical reference to the living people in the house. By referring to them as "skeletons," the speaker is alluding to their inevitable mortality. They too will be skeletons one day, just like all those that have passed before them.
In the final stanza, the speaker suggests that the feeling of nostalgia is inevitably disappointing. Although the speaker has returned to the home he used to live in, the positive feelings that he was expecting to feel again have eluded him. Time has changed, and the house that used to be his home is his home no longer.