Walt Whitman

(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892 / New York / United States)

I Saw In Louisiana A Live Oak Growing



I SAW in Louisiana a live-oak growing,
All alone stood it, and the moss hung down from the branches;
Without any companion it grew there, uttering joyous leaves of dark
green,
And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think of myself;
But I wonder'd how it could utter joyous leaves, standing alone
there, without its friend, its lover near--for I knew I could
not;
And I broke off a twig with a certain number of leaves upon it, and
twined around it a little moss,
And brought it away--and I have placed it in sight in my room;
It is not needed to remind me as of my own dear friends,
(For I believe lately I think of little else than of them;)
Yet it remains to me a curious token--it makes me think of manly
love; 10
For all that, and though the live-oak glistens there in Louisiana,
solitary, in a wide flat space,
Uttering joyous leaves all its life, without a friend, a lover, near,
I know very well I could not.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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