The Bard of Campbell-Ewald

Shakespeare never got to write ads for the Chevy Tahoe, but Patrick O’Leary is filling in for him.

The Campbell-Ewald writer’s poem “Nobody Knows It but Me,” written for a Tahoe spot, has viewers enraptured. If poetry is a sword of lightning, as Shelley said, then this guy’s words would consume any scabbard that tried to contain them.

“There’s a place that I travel when I want to roam/And nobody knows it but me,” the poem begins. “The roads don’t go there and the signs stay home/And nobody knows it but me/It’s far, far away, and way, way afar/It’s over the moon and the sea/And wherever you’re going/ That’s wherever you are/And nobody knows it but me.”

People can’t hold back their joy over it. “I can’t promise that the commercial will influence me to buy the Chevy Tahoe, but I can say that I will remember it,” Elizabeth Lockett writes in a letter to C-E. “I don’t know what types of awards there are for commercials, but this one certainly deserves recognition.”

Poetry geeks in chat rooms are debating who wrote the poem (A.A. Milne? Robert Frost? Shel Silverstein?). It is also featured on a holistic healing Web site. O’Leary says the furor initially struck him as kind of odd, “but it’s also cool and gratifying,” he says. “James Garner [who does the voiceover] said he’s been getting all sorts of compliments.”

Cindy White, a teacher at Gettys Middle School in Easley, S.C., had her students memorize the poem. “It has a great voice,” she tells Shoptalk. “It also has rhythm and an effective use of the technique of repetition. I teach all of these things.”