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Ode to Anonymous - Pindaric Ode - Lyrical Poem New beauty with frosted skin and colorful harmony, Singing warrior songs, under skies covered with nightfall. A sleek princess with a voice like warm honey, Your soft tongue, well-influenced by life’s days, your arsenal. You sound just like a fantasy, and never could be heartless; I am consumed. With piercing eyes, like sapphire ocean waves, you struck me leaving wonderful wounds. A whirl of energy enters me, and I’m enthralled with you; it is so wrong, Searching for your taste, to you I do not belong. Your lips are unafraid, and bitter as vinegar. Grim lady, you are genuinely magnetic. Your melody is lucid; haunting and sinister. The chaos that is you, inspires only those most poetic. My captivating, candy-coated glacial Queen, Your euphonic touch is so surreal, this must be a dream. by KimberlyAnneInc
My poem was definitely inspired by someone. It’s an Ode, so that should be pretty self-explanatory.
For all you know, it could be the Queen of England, or Betty White. Maybe I’m a bit fond of her. Whoever this is about, can be revealed at a later time. For now – let’s talk about lyrical poems.
The more I’ve been studying poetry, and its different forms and structures, they less intimidated I feel by it. I remember writing poems as a little kid in my bedroom. Music and words have somehow always made me feel more complete. For as long as I can remember I’ve considered music, poems, storytelling, art and everything in between as the most important and valid forms of expression. Emotional expression, artistic expression – these are actual declarations of human existence.
Despite writing little rhymes when I was a kid, somehow in my adult life within the last decade or so I started to let poetry intimidate me. I thought I couldn’t do it. I thought it would be pointless or a waste of time. Somehow along the way, I lost a piece of my creative self-expression. I’m grateful now to have put more time into learning, and I mean truly learning more about poetry and reconnecting with my own creative spark of self-expression.
My poem above, Ode to Anonymous is an example of a Pindaric Ode. During my studies, I learned about many different kinds of poetry; and lyrical poetry was one of them.
Lyrical poetry does not just consist of odes, but in this blog – that is what I’ll be focusing on. Generally, lyric poetry focuses on a brief description of intense thoughts and emotions. Sometimes this style of poetry is about nature, romance, grief, or death – just to name a few.
In my example above, it does have a bit of romance, but there are plenty of other elements that are hidden and not so hidden. Lyric poetry is also meant to be read aloud. By studying even further, I realize how important it is now to read poems aloud and hear them read aloud by others.
The thing with poetry is that when it’s spoken, and you hear it vs. just reading it, it can be interpreted differently. It’s like you experience the words differently. You feel the emotion differently. The message that the poet is trying to send is just absorbed so much better when you hear the words aloud.
The form of my poem above is called Pindaric Ode. The Pindaric Ode originated in ancient Greece and is named after Pindar. He was known as one of the most epic lyric poets of all time. Pindar is also the reason why Odes exist.
The word ode derives from the Greek word oide, which means “to sing or chant.” Odes were originally performed to music. The duration, metrical patterns, and rhyme of these songs were certainly different long ago. Since the time of the ancient Greeks, odes have evolved into three different varieties, but the core form and premise have remained the same.
If you want to learn more about all three types of Odes, check out the Poetry Foundation website. (By the way, The Poetry Foundation is based in my hometown, Chicago – so you know I have to show love!)
The structure of an ode is distinct from that of other forms of poetic expression. Each of the three varieties of odes has its own particular characteristics. In contrast to Pindaric and Horatian odes, which must adhere to strict rules, irregular odes are free to take any form. It is common for odes to be constructed of several lines or stanzas of poetry, but they can be of any length.
In ancient Greece, odes to sports or other events were designed to be performed with dancers and a chorus. Odes were used in celebration of major athletic affairs, such as the Olympics.
Pindar enjoyed including mythical allusions in his art as a way of paying homage to the gods. See, now this is something Pindar and I have in common. If you know me, you know how much I love allusions and mythology. Pindar was spot-on by making sure everyone knew that mythological allusions are the best. Pindar was one super cool dude; he even taught Sappho a thing or two. Epic.
Before I get carried away about mythology and allusions, let me get back to the point!
The particular form that I used above is the Pindaric three stanza form, also known as a public/celebration form. The reason for this is due to Pindaric odes commonly being used for public events, sports competitions, or celebrations.
Generally speaking, Pindaric odes are separated into three sections, or stanzas: the strophe, the antistrophe, and the epode.
- strophe – first section of an ode; a group of stanzas of alternating metrical form (see my 1st stanza and check out the ending words of lines 1-4)
- antistrophe – second section in a poem consisting of alternating stanzas in contrasting metrical form (kind of like the 1st stanza, but AABB pattern instead of ABAB for rhyming end words)
- epode – third section that follows the strophe and antistrophe and completes the movement (Stanza 3 (6-line sestet) – lines 9-14)
And there you have the structure and form of a Pindaric Ode! Writing poems with strict form and rules is actually quite challenging – especially if you’re a rebel writer like me. One time I did get in trouble for writing too many words over the limit on a school assignment. I have issues, I know – but only the best kind. It’s embarrassing since that happened not so long ago, but it’s true! If you are a rebel writer, tend to overwrite or just totally despise following forms and structures of any kind – but especially in writing, then you understand what I mean. 🙂
An Ode that I read, that really helped me understand the form of a Pindaric Ode was the poem, The Bard by Thomas Gray.
Here’s a stanza from his poem:
II.2. "'Mighty victor, mighty lord, Low on his funeral couch he lies! No pitying heart, no eye, afford A tear to grace his obsequies. Is the Sable Warrior fled? Thy son is gone. He rests among the dead. The swarm, that in thy noon-tide beam were born? Gone to salute the rising Morn. Fair laughs the Morn, and soft the Zephyr blows, While proudly riding o'er the azure realm In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes; Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm; Regardless of the sweeping Whirlwind's sway, That, hush'd in grim repose, expects his evening prey.
See the rhyme scheme and pattern?! The poem was crafted with excellence and has provided me with a perfect example on how I could attempt to write my own Pindaric Ode (even though mine is much shorter!).
In this poem by Gray, he presents ideas about two nations sharing a common history. Gray sought to investigate the concept of the significance of Wales within an old British nation.
Gray chose the poem’s structure and words with care and intention in order to make his poem appear a bit more ancient, and more important, so that he could use it to convey his ideas.
The conflict between Edward I, the English invader, and the last bard of Wales is depicted in Thomas Gray’s poem “The Bard,” which was written in 1757. The poem was a major success, and it played a significant role in establishing the image of the Welsh mountains as a symbol of liberty in popular culture.
I could probably go on and on about this, but it’s late so I’ve got to stop right here. A post from me was way overdue, so I figured this would suffice. If you’ve read this far, thank you. Your attention span makes me extremely jealous! I hope you enjoyed this post and maybe learned something new. Let me know in the comments.
To read more, you can check out these links for reference: