Verse > Walt Whitman > Leaves of Grass
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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;         5
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. 


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