I believe that many have already encountered the word “ode”, but how many do know what it means? To define it simply, an ode is a lyric poem, or a poem meant to be sung. That was what I knew of it in high school. I became fascinated with the concept of it, so I wrote a very short one:
When I’m Gone
When I’m gone…
You may cry or grieve
Or look back to where the tears have been.
And when the crying is done
And the grief has gone,
Simply remember me
For I’ll take that smile with me
…When I’m gone.
What is Ode, Really
I realize now I most probably broke a lot of the rules for writing an ode. Actual dictionaries define the ode as the following:
Merriam-Webster: “a lyric poem usually marked by exaltation of feeling and style, varying length of line, and complexity of stanza forms”
Oxford: “1. A lyric poem, typically one in the form of an address to a particular subject, written in varied or irregular metre 1.1. A classical poem of a kind originally meant to be sung”
Vocabulary.com: “a lyric poem with complex stanza forms”
Dictionary.com: “1. a lyric poem typically of elaborate or irregular metrical form and expressive of exalted or enthusiastic emotion 2. (originally) a poem intended to be sung”
At least, I got that last one right.
To further explain,…
“‘Ode’ comes from the Greek aeidein, meaning to sing or chant, and belongs to the long and varied tradition of lyric poetry. Originally accompanied by music and dance, and later reserved by the Romantic poets to convey their strongest sentiments, the ode can be generalized as a formal address to an event, a person, or a thing not present.” (Poets.org)
Or simply put,…
“An ode is a form of lyric poetry — expressing emotion — and it’s usually addressed to someone or something, or it represents the poet’s musings on that person or thing…” (Vocabulary.com)
The Ode Ones
The ode’s stanza forms vary. The Poetry Foundation website tries to explain these the easiest way possible (the quotes are from their page, the links aren’t mostly):
- The Greek or Pindaric ode – “celebrates athletic victories” (I am suddenly reminded of Whitney Houston’s One Moment in Time)
- Horatian ode – “written in quatrains in a more philosophical, contemplative manner”
- Sapphic ode – “consists of quatrains,…unrhyming but with a strict meter.”
- English Romantic ode – “vary in stanza form. They often address an intense emotion at the onset of a personal crisis…or celebrate an object or image that leads to revelation.”
There are various examples of odes. The poet that seems to be mentioned most is John Keats. Below is an excerpt from one of the odes he is famous for (if not the weirdest one). Click on the image to read the whole ode and even listen to the audio.
Now that you know what an ode is, I hope this has inspired you to try writing one yourself.
If you have written your own ode, do share! Maybe add an audio along with it? 😉
This piece serves as my Letter O post for the A to Z Challenge 2017.
I am creating a page for my A to Z Challenge 2017 posts. Meanwhile, for now, to check for my past posts, kindly check out As Lovely as a Tree.