Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


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 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;
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.

Credit


This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on June 10, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem


This poem appeared in the final edition of Leaves of Grass (David McKay, 1892).

Author


Walt Whitman

Born on May 31, 1819, Walt Whitman is the author of Leaves of Grass and, along with Emily Dickinson, is considered one of the architects of a uniquely American poetic voice. 

Date Published: 1892-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/i-saw-louisiana-live-oak-growing