Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Poetry Challenge #15: Ode

As always, before we get started on the new challenge, check out the lovely free verses submitted this week here.

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.


Alicia said...

Ok, honestly, I'm not a big fan of this. I love some of the lines and the subject, but together it just doesn't quite feel right yet, kind of clunky. I attempted the English Ode, I think. Another work in progress...
Ode to the Punxies

Not long after I got a positive test,
I searched for a place to talk things through
Though I didn't quite fit in with the rest
I stumbled on such an amazing group.
Each a little different, no two the same
One thing kept us together, our growing babes.
These girls taught me more than I can say
They helped me through morning sickness and names
Never was there a time I was so engaged,
We'll be friends until we're old and grey.

The months passed and our babes began to show
Each arrived with a new story to tell,
We began to learn and grow,
And got to know each other really well.
We listen to each other cry and vent
When husbands and lives have us enraged
Being sure to show the same passion
For the happy, fun, and wonderful moments.
It's better than keeping our feelings caged,
Or displaying it in a horrid fashion.

It's been a while, lots of time has passed
Since our little bundles of joy arrived.
Our ever growing bond is unsurpassed
Instead our friendships have thrived.
Now I'm thankful for each wonderful girl
They have guided me into motherhood
No longer afraid of raising my kids
As my daugther's grown into a big girl.
I love you all, I feel so understood.
I hope you know, of me you'll never get rid

LOL!! Writing this definitely made me smile more than once :)

paige said...

awesome job alicia!!! i think i'm terrified of the ode because "ode to a grecian urn" was totally like chinese to me in highschool... i thought it was hilarious that it was a favourite of yours, kristine...
i love the content of Alicia's tho - & it's in english for me :)

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written Alicia and Kristine!!

Minerva said...

Paige--my teacher gave me the Keats poem to analyze because she knew it was very difficult; that's sort of why I like it now, I remember impressing her with what I could tease out of it.


Alicia--I understand what you mean about struggling with the ode. I had trouble with mine, too. I don't suppose I need to tell you that I feel the same way about our special group! I would never, ever want to get rid of you. :) Particularly because of your courage to post this even though you don't think it's finished yet, 5,000 points to you!!

marginalia said...

Wish I hadn't missed this one! Am starting to believe in telepathy, as weirdly enough, the urge struck to write an ode last week...it's probably too late, and I'm not sure if odes are ever supposed to be comic, but...?

Minerva said...

Marginalia--my "deadlines" are really to try and motivate readers to post sooner rather than later...but you are most welcome to submit an entry despite the passed deadline. We would love an addition to our little writing group!