Poem Spark Dec. 11-18 – the Ode

Greetings fellow poets!

Today’s sunrise swept over the land quietly, highlighting the yard and bare trees with delicate shades of rose and grey. A few stray cirrus clouds broke up the light behind the horizon. Perhaps the only way to describe how beautiful it felt to see the sun come over the windowsill would be to compose an ode. Poets.org has a lovely little explanation of the history of the ode and the most well-known forms of this particular form of poetry: Poetic Form: Ode.

However, what struck me most after reading through the page was the intent of this particular type of poem, “the ode can be generalized as a formal address to an event, a person, or a thing not present” This is too dry a recitation of definition. When I think of an ode, I think of my last bike ride, or my grandmother’s funeral, or the strange feeling that swept over me when my son’s first smile crept across his face. It is the lyric joy or sorrow of the moment or thing that inspires one to write an ode.

This week’s spark: write an ode. Don’t worry about fitting the poem into a formal robe, instead, write an irregular ode. Write an ode that is completely free, or that rhymes, or that feels like a sonnet, but isn’t quite. Let the poem choose its own way, and focus instead on the thing, the reason, the person for which the ode exists.

Here are some examples for you to use as a guide:

Robert Creeley America

Mary Oliver The Black Snake

Dorianne Laux Girl in the Doorway

John Keats Ode on a Grecian Urn

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