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I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing by Walt Whitman


"I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing" is a poem written by Walt Whitman. This poem is about friendship and love. The author speaks of an oak tree growing by itself with nothing else around. It is friendless. However, the tree, even though it is lusty and rude, still has dark green leaves and is living a good life. Whitman talks of how he could not live like this. He is trying to be happy, but he can't help but think of his friends and be lonely without them. He says that he could not live like the tree.

This poem is made up of one stanza with sixteen lines. There is not a rhyme pattern.


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 stood there uttering joyous leaves of dark green,
And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think of myself,
But I wondered 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 or lover near,
I know very well I could not.

Next: I Sit and Look Out
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Literary Movement
19th Century

Nature, Friendship, Love, Relationship, Life, Happiness, Being Alone

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