HomeStd XII PoetrySong of the Open Road

Song of the Open Road

Song of the Open Road– Know more about it.

Title: Song of the Open Road

The title of the poem ‘Song of the Open Road’ is very significant as Whitman has used the word ‘Song’ with a definite purpose that he enjoys to travel on the open road without any tension and worries of past, present and future and face the life without any complaint against his life. The poet wishes to move ahead on the road of life with his own will and goodness. The Song of the open road also indicates Freedom.

Ice Breakers-

A) Choose the mode of travel that you would like the most for a journey.

Answer:- I like the Roadways most.

B) Give reasons for your preference.


The roadways are easily available to all. So I also use it most. I can travel through remote areas by roadways. There are various kinds of vehicles available for road journey. I can use my own vehicle also. This journey gives a me a chance to see closely the natural beauty, green landscapes, villages, rivers, mountains and big cities. 

C) Write the preparations you would like to make for the journey chosen.

(a) I would make a perfect planning for the journey.               
(b) I would collect information of the places before visiting it from different sources. I would use physical map or Google map to know the distance and exact location of the place.                 
(c) I would carry the required things and medicines during journey. I would make booking of tickets, lodging and hotels. I would carry essential documents if I have to use my own vehicle.                
(d) I would carry light weight bags. I would place money in safe place. I would carry mobile charges and power banks to get mobile facility uninterrupted. I would also keep in touch with my family members who are at home.              

D) Discuss the ways in which you would overcome the problems/ hindrances/ difficulties you face during your journey.


(a) If I face any problem during my journey, I would take the help of the persons near me. If it is not possible, I would go to the place where I get the required help.             
(b) I would take help of the local police or inform my friends or family members to send required help to resolve the problem.          
(c) I would keep patience and try to overcome the problems. I would try to sort out the problems smoothly.            
(d) I would remain calm and pay attention to my safety to continue the journey.                 

E) During every journey we have to observe certain rules. Discuss your ideas of the journey without any restrictions. 


(a) I would go alone and search out the possible ways to continue the journey.
(b) I would go with my friends if there is need of team efforts.       
(c) We would follow all the rules and regulations of the road safety.        
(d) We would show the required documents to show our identity proof. We would not consume the harmful drinks like alcohol during journey.

New words and their meaning:-  
Afoot– going on foot, walking, in motion
brown path– bare land
postpone– to stop for few days
suffice– enough, adequate, sufficient
delicious burdens (here)- sweet memories of the past
whimper – low voice of cry or agony, unhappiness, sadness
querulous – argumentative, complaining
constellations – Here it means group, collection, gathering of people   
light-hearted – cheerful, care-free
take to – begin  

Song of the open road is a poem by Walt Whitman. It is taken from the collection “Leaves of Grass”. It is written in 1856. Walt Whitman strongly advocated importance of democracy & Freedom.The poem ‘Song of the Open Road’ is written in the free verse and is in the form of a monologue by the poet. The poet intends to express his open thoughts over journey of life taken on different roads.  
The unrhymed and varying length of lines shows the complexities and the ups and downs one faces in his /her life. It also indicates the poet’s inner desire to enjoy life to its fullest without bothering about the tensions and worries. It is an inspirational poem written in the form of narration. This poem is an Ode to one’s self.

Poet: Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist. He is often called the father of free verse. He was born on Long Island in 1819 and grew up in the New York area. He had very little formal schooling, but he considered himself to be a lifelong learner. Whitman died at the age of 72 after suffering stroke in 1892. His poem ‘O’ Captain, My Captain’ and his poetry collection ‘Leaves of Grass’ are his remarkable literary works. 

Figures of speech:

1) The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose…….

Alliteration – Sound of letter ‘l’ is repeated.

2) Henceforth I as not good- fortune, I myself am good- fortune……

Repetition – Word ‘good –fortune’  is repeated.         

3) I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go…..

Repetition – Words ‘Carry them’ are repeated.

4) Still here I carry my old delicious burdens…..

Paradox- Delicious and burden express opposite meaning.

5) Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticism…..

Tautology- ‘Complaint and Querulous’ expresses same meanings.

6) Still here……..burdens

Metaphor – Old sweet memories are indirectly compared to something delicious.

7) Henceforth I….need no more –

Climax….Words are arranged in their ascending order of importance

8) Querulous Criticism

Alliteration- Sound ‘k’ is repeated.

9) Strong and content I travel the open road. 

Inversion- The words are not in a correct prose order. The correct prose order is – I travel the open road strong and content.

10) I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.

Repetition- The word ‘fill’ is repeated.

11) Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road. 

Inversion- The words are not in a correct prose order. The correct prose order is – I take to the open road afoot and light hearted.

12) Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms.

Climax- Ideas are arranged is ascending order.

13)Song of the road –

Personification- Non-living object road is shown singing.

14) Song of the Open Road

Metaphor- The road is indirectly compared with the journey of life.

15) I carry my old delicious burdens

Paradox- Burdens are described as delicious. It is absurd. A burden cannot be delicious. The poet has used this combination of words to express that he has many sweet memories of the people and places which he would like to remember forever. 

The poem begins with poet’s journey on foot on the open road. Here the road means the road of life. He expresses that he is very cheerful to take the journey in this healthy and free world. In addition, the poet has a control over the journey as he is free to choose the brown path wherever to travel.         

Next, the poet continues the thoughts in earlier lines by saying that he does not ask for good fortune and considers himself the creator of his own fortune. He adds that he will not cry or hesitate to do anything without postponing it and expects nothing. He is no longer satisfied being confined in the four walls. He is strong and happy enough to travel on the open road having unlocked himself from several complaints and arguments in his past life.         

In the next lines, the poet tries to free himself from the worldly pleasures and relations. Even though he has a great faith in them and knows that they are doing well and happy with them, no more he likes to engage himself in friends and other people as he thinks that the mother earth is now enough for him to travel.         

Special features :

The poem is written in very simple and effective language which is easy to understand. As it is written in a free verse, there is no rhyme scheme and meter. Length of the lines and stanzas are not equal. It has four separate stanzas. The first stanza contains only three lines, the other two stanzas contain four lines.

In the last stanzas poet uses parentheses to separate himself from the worldly needs. Phrases like ‘light-hearted’ and ‘querulous criticisms’ are interesting. Imageries such as constellations and brown colour are noteworthy. Figures of speech such as Alliteration, Metaphor, Repetition and Paradox are impressive.

Theme :

Freedom, joy of free life and optimism are the major themes of this poem. Throughout the poem, the poet encourages the readers to be true to themselves and live a free and enjoy the freedom of life. Although his life is not free from obligations and troubles, he encourages everyone to live their dreams, leaving the obstacles behind.

Moral/Opinion :

It teaches us to be optimistic and happy. We have everything including freedom and opportunities. It encourages us to enjoy the life in healthy and free world. It motivates us to fill our heart with immense pleasure

Click on the following image to get the online test on – Song of the Open Road

Activity No. 1

Q.1) Read the extract and complete the activities given below.(10)                                         

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

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune,
I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,

Strong and content I travel the open road.
The earth, that is sufficient, I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens,
I carry them, men and women,
I carry them with me wherever I go,
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them,
I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.)

A1. Complete (2)                                                                                    

Complete the following table with the describing words used for them.

उताऱ्यात खालील शब्दांसाठी वापरलेले वर्णन करणारे शब्द लिहून टेबल पूर्ण करा.

WordsDescribing words
  Speaker  ————————————–
WordsDescribing words
  Speakerlight-hearted, , Strong and content
  WorldHealthy, free
  Roadthe long brown
  Burdenold delicious

A2. Locate (2)                                                                                              

Locate any two lines showing ‘carefree mood’ of the poet and write them down.

उताऱ्यातून कवी ची चिंतामुक्त मनस्थिती दाखावणारी कोणतीही दोन वाक्ये लिहा.

The lines showing poet’s ‘carefree mood’ are:

1) The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

2) Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing.

3) Strong and content I travel the open road.

4) The earth, that is sufficient.

A3. Personal Response (2)                                                             

Give any two problems which you may face during a journey. Give the ways to overcome these problems.

प्रवास करत असतांना येऊ शकणाऱ्या दोन अडचणी लिहा. या अडचणींवर मात करण्याचे उपाय सांगा.

Problems during a journey and ways to overcome them:

1) Break down of the vehicle- Search another vehicle to continue the journey.

2) Miss the correct road – Use the google map to search the correct road.

A4. Figures of Speech (2)                                                                          

i) Name and explain the figures of speech from the following line.

        ” Still here I carry my old delicious burdens.”

Transferred epithet- The adjective ‘delicious’ is transferred from ‘food’ to ‘burden’.

ii)  Give one example of inversion from the poem.

Example of inversion- Strong and content I travel the open road.

A5. Poetic creativity  (2)                                                                          

Compose a short poem in about four lines on ‘My Life’

‘माझे जीवन’ यावर आधारित चार ओळींची कविता लिहा.     

Answer:     —————————————–




I don’t let my mind wander,                             

To what’s coming next in life.                       

I want to cherish this moment of my life                              

And give it my best.

See the first video on: 2.1 Song of the Open Road

See the second video on: 2.1 Song of the Open Road

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