Monthly Archives: January 2019

Whitman: I Saw In Louisiana A Live-Oak Growing

The following poem is believed to have been written in the Spring of 1859. The homo-eroticism in these few lines is astounding, more so given the era in which it was written. Much of Whitman’s poetry had references to men and his attraction to them. 

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 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.

Puerto Rico: A Poem

The poem below is not mine. It was written by Juan Saez Burgos, a Puerto Rican by birth, a poet in spirit. I found it very prescient in light of dear president’s recent comments about PR being an island, coupled with the horrible response to the crisis there. We Americans have a history that is sometimes far from honorable.

        Historic Tale in One Language Without a Moral                        

                        Part I

Once upon a time
and twice are three
and still is
    a small piece of the earth
in the middle of the sea:
    that piece was filled with Indians
naked like bronze under the sun.
Winds passed and waves passed 
and in boats some whites arrived, and the Indians of
     bronze
under the sun
     fought and fought and died, and the whites with beards
under the sun
     killed and killed and conquered.
Long live the Cross and long live the King
     full of blood because that is the law!
From a larger, more people land, the whites brought
     some blacks
naked, mahogany under the sun. They chained them,
     they branded them,
they made them drink their sweat.
For the King and for the Cross filled with hate they pray
     to Jesus.

                        Part II

Once upon a time
and twice are three
and still is,
     that same piece of earth
in the middle of the sea;
     that piece is filled with people
dressed and mixed under the sun.
     Struggles passed and wars passed
and some blonds arrived in warships, and creoles dressed 
under the sun
     fought and fought; they surrendered, and the pink
       blonds
under the sun killed and killed, they laughed.
Long live Wall Street and Santa Claus "and obey bastards
     this is the law"
From their larger, more people land the blonds brought
     some bases
full full full with bombs under the sun; they put there
     soldiers and cannons
and they did all this for "sport".
For Santa Claus and for Wall Street "dirty spiks" march
     off to war.