Thank You Walt Whitman, Thank You Volvo

Posted: March 8, 2017 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry, writing
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If you are reading this and you also watch a little TV, I know that not only do you love and read poetry but you have had a gnawing and nagging feeling of familiarity each time that you may have watched or heard the latest Volvo auto TV commercial.

Even if you have only read or heard just once the poem “Song of the Open Road” you can’t listen to that commercial without saying to yourself or to your pardner, “I have heard those words before!”. And there the “earworm” begins.

Yes, we can thank Volvo for bringing to the front Walt Whitman’s beautiful words again. If only a few small but pungent slices of it.  I catch only the first three lines of the poem and two more separated lines taken from the the 5th Stanza in the short TV version.

It is really tastefully done but considering the cost of the car they are promoting, it would have been much nicer if they would more openly given Mr. Whitman much more credit than a short hashtag at the end.

Find “Song of the Open Road ” here.

Google Volvo Commercial Poem to hear the ad. But they make a little longer extended version for the internet. In it they move the lines around in a different order. It is such a beautiful poem and they only show the poem title for no more than a couple seconds at the end. But it seems to me they have bastardized a great work. They really make it appear that the fellow in the commercial wrote the words. I guess you would have to call it an iteration, perhaps.


  1. I agree!

    Well, I love Mr. Whitman’s words! Ever since I first discovered him eons ago. 🙂

    I googled and found the extended version of the Volvo commercial and watched it. Hopefully it gets people to google the poem. When I hear a song, quote, or poem on TV, or in a movie, that speaks to me, I write down enough of it so I can google it and find it. 🙂

    One of my fav parts of that poem is:

    “I think heroic deeds were all conceiv’d in the open air, and all
    free poems also,
    I think I could stop here myself and do miracles,
    I think whatever I shall meet on the road I shall like, and whoever
    beholds me shall like me,
    I think whoever I see must be happy.” 🙂

    Great post, DSS!
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my , the first three lines and the last 5 lines.
      These first lines I recognized as soon as I heard them.

      Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road,
      Healthy, free, the world before me,
      The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

      And then the wedding vows: ??

      Camerado, I give you my hand!
      I give you my love more precious than money,
      I give you myself before preaching or law;
      Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
      Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

      And what do you suppose that’s all about ?? Is the whole poem a proposal asking some one to wed? Asking someone to go with him on his journey of life? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • When it comes to poets and songwriters…I think most of them want us to interpret their words in our own way, based on our life experiences. But, I’m often curious as to why they wrote what they wrote, what they were going through, feeling, what certain phrases or sentences meant, etc. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. iampeacenow says:

    It is a well done commercial but I certainly feel Walt Whitman’s name should appear at the end. I agree the extended version gives the impression the actor in the commercial write the words. I found it interesting that each version slightly changed the interaction between the man and the waitress. I had never seen the commercials until I looked them up. Peace to you

    Liked by 1 person

    • I watched the ads a couple times and in one scene you can see a Walt Whitman poetry paperback book on the console of the car. But you really have to watch it fast to catch it
      I felt they were on the edge of plagiarizing. But I was glad they brought the poem to the forefront and it was done well. But they failed in giving credit to where credit was due. Thanks Jane!

      Liked by 1 person

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