I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing(1982)
"I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing" is the second song of Ned Rorem's song cycle Three Calamus Poems, which sets three poems by Walt Whitman.
I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing
by Walt Whitman
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.