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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry
The Ode 

Often Odes are named for the theme or subject of the poem. Here are a few:

  • Elegy, Obsequy, Threnody Ode
  • Elemental Ode is a poem that glorifies everyday things. Chilean poet Pablo Neruda is associated with this genre and is a master at venerating the most common things, the sock, salt, and/or tomato. The frame is at the discretion of the poet.

    Ode to the Onion by Pablo Neruda

     Ode to My Left Hand by Judi Van Gorder

     Oh, neglected left hand,
     I know I have not favored
     you in the past,
     the right seems to have 
     had all of the talent.
     She could write better,
     she could accomplish all
     of the mundane
     tasks I asked of her
     without your awkwardness.
     I never appreciated
     or recognized your part
     in her successes.
     Now that you have been
     sidelined by brutally broken bones,
     I see how much
     you contributed to every
     aspect of my life.
     How helpless the right is
     without assistance from you.
     From small tasks, squeezing toothpaste
     onto a brush or slicing tomatoes
     to larger tasks, hooking a bra,
     opening a bottle of V8,
     or typing this poem,
     you are sorely missed.
     Your loveliness is now hidden
     beneath ugly wrapped gauze
     over a torturous, stiff splint   
     with surgery looming,
     then plaster cast.
     How I long to see your fingers
     wiggle and grasp
     Never more will I dismiss
     your beauty.
     You are the yang to my yin. 

  • Genethliacum Ode, is a poem written in honor of the birth of a child. Usually, these lofty odes were reserved for the birth of nobility. However, technically any poem written in honor of the birth of a child would qualify as a Genethliacum.

    Morning Song by Sylvia Plath

    Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
    The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
    Took its place among the elements.

    Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
    In a drafty museum, your nakedness
    Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

    I'm no more your mother
    Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
    Effacement at the wind's hand.

    All night your moth-breath
    Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
    A far sea moves in my ear.

    One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
    In my Victorian nightgown.
    Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square

    Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
    Your handful of notes;
    The clear vowels rise like balloons.

  • Encomium or Coronation Ode is a Greek choral lyric celebrating a person's achievements. This can be expanded to the length and formality of an ode as in honor of the coronation of a king, but most often is a simple poem as would be spoken at a banquet in an introduction in the category of occasional poetry. It specifically celebrates a man rather than a god. This genre of verse usually has 5 elements, prologue, birth and development, accomplishments, comparisons with which to praise, and an epilogue.

    Just a Man
  • Wedding Odes:
  • Palinode Ode is an apologetic ode, that retracts or recants something said in a previous poem by the same poet. It is usually written as a retraction of an invective statement or offensive remark made in satire.

    Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a palinode at the end of the Canterbury Tales, recanting and apologizing for any bawdy or offensive statements previously made. It is really unclear if this palinode was part of the original Tales or if it was tacked on later as either an advertisement of his works or as a death bed confessional.

    Wherfore I biseke yow mekely,
    for the mercy Of God, that ye preye
    for me that crist have Mercy on me
    and foryeve me my giltes; and Namely
    of my translacions and enditynges
    of Worldly vanitees, the whiche I revoke
    in My retracciouns:as is the book of Troilus;
    the book also of Fame; the book of
    The xxv. Ladies; the ;
    The book of seint valentynes day
    of the parlement of briddes; the tales of counterbury,
    Thilke that sownen into synne; the book
    of the Leoun; and many another book.
                            This was found at Wikipedia.

  • Panegyric or Paean is an ode that celebrates something from its inception or the life of a person, not just the accomplishments. It is usually written about someone still alive and celebrates the who rather than the what of the person. "Paean" should not be confused with the metric foot "paeon".

    Cassini Spacecraft by David Parsley
    Standing Tall by Jamie McKenzie In Honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Triumphal Ode, is an ode to celebrate a victory.  Also called an Epinicia when specifically celebrating a sports victory. The Epinician Ode said to be created by Simonides of Ceos, Greek lyrical poet, 556BC to 468BC though the most prolific user of the theme was Pindar of Pindaric Ode fame. Originally written to honor a victor the Hellenic games and sung in a procession for the winner and connecting him with a great hero of the past. The frame at the discretion of the poet.
                                     Victory by S.J. Duncan-Clark

    The Chicago Evening Post, November 11, 1918
                    Great Poems about the World War

    OUT of the night it leaped the seas--
    ---The four long years of night!
    "The foe is beaten to his knees,
    ---And triumph crowns the fight!"
    It sweeps the world from shore to shore,
    ---By wave and wind 'tis flung,
    It grows into a mighty roar
    ---Of siren, bell and tongue.
    Where little peoples knelt in fear,
    ---They stand in joy today;
    The hour of their redemption here,
    ---Their feet on Freedom's way.
    The kings and kaisers flee their doom,
    ---Fall bloody crown and throne!
    Room for the people! Room! Make room!
    ---They march to claim their own!
    Now God be praised we lived to see
    ---His Sun of Justice rise,
    His Sun of Righteous Liberty,
    ---To gladden all our skies!
    And God be praised for those who died,
    ---Whate'er their clime or breed,
    Who, fighting bravely side by side,
    ---A world from thraldom freed!
    And God be praised for those who, spite
    ---Of woundings sore and deep,
    Survive to see the Cause of Right
    ---O'er all its barriers sweep!
    God and the people--This our cry!
    ---O, God, thy peace we sing!
    The peace that comes through victory,
    ---And dwells where Thou art King.

  • Occasional Verse

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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