The ode was originally accompanied by music and dance, and was later adopted by the Romantic poets to express their strongest sentiments. It is generally defined as a formal address to an event, a person, or a thing not present. There are three types of odes: the formal, theatrical Pindaric ode; the thoughtful Horatian ode, and the aptly named Irregular ode. Due to space issues, I will select one of my personal favorite odes, Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn," which is considered an irregular ode. You can see more examples of different types of odes and a more thorough explanation here.
Ode on a Grecian Urn
by John Keats
Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? what maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal--yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.
Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.
O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty'--that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
I'm pretty sure I'm no Keats, but I'll do my best. I'm going with the irregular format on this one too--I think the tone and subject matter is challenging enough without having to worry quite so much about formatting. Here's another link to a site helpful for writing odes.
Ode to My Childhood
I started life with child’s eyes,
creating friends out of thin air.
Imagination was so strong
it seemed that they were really there.
I rode my invisible horse
through every parking lot in town,
and when I sat upon a swing
I felt I’d never touch the ground.
When I drew, I loved my work,
as well as when I wrote things down.
Back then, life was a simple joy,
uncomplicated and love-filled.
I used to dream of living toys
and daydreaming my mind was thrilled.
In summer we’d head for the lake,
I’d spend time fishing with my dad,
and I’d read a huge pile of books--
the best summers I’ve ever had.
I used to rise up with the sun
but bond with Smurfs and Gummi Bears.
At school, I’d look forward to
when we’d have parties for holidays,
or otherwise to recess time
when we’d play games so many ways.
At twelve my fantasy came true
and horses then turned visible;
I found a sport I was good at,
I nearly felt invincible.
While my own youth has come and gone,
I now enjoy my child’s aplomb.