Home  »  Leaves of Grass  »  51. I saw in Louisiana a Live Oak Growing

Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900.

51. 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;

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.