Sunday, July 09, 2006

Words from Whitman

When Lizard Eater got married, she asked her father to find a poem and read it in the ceremony. When he found his pick, he said, "Just listen. Then tell me what you think."

He read the below poem to me. I stood there, almost speechless, then said, "it's perfect."

"Not everyone will get it," he said. "They'll wonder why I'm reading that in a wedding."

"We'll know, "said I. "And some people will get it."

I have loved the poem ever since. And now, with my wonderful friends who have held me up, I think of it again.

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.


Chalicechick said...

Wow. That's beautiful.


Anne said...

That is beautiful. Way to go Dad. (wishing right now that my dad was a little more cool)