write an “ode.” poem and short answer to questions:
Essentially, an ode is a devotional poem, originally set to music, that celebrates a person or object of intense interest (or even desire). Below are two examples, one by Shelley and one by Wicker… and both are unexpected devotionals. Sure, the latter one, “Ode to Browsing the Web,” seems whimsical on the surface; however, it expresses an intensity that validates its mode: THE ODE.
In my next post, I’ll outline this week’s writing assignment. For here, however, I just want you to read the following pieces and respond on a personal level: Which poem do you prefer and why? Is the more traditional style of Shelley easier to absorb (with its clearly defined rhyme and rhythm)? or is the Wicker piece more to your liking due to its “modern” sensibilities and construction? Maybe you like both? Share your thoughts and respond to each other. 100 words
Ode to the West Wind (1819)
BY PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY
O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed
The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow
Her clarion o’er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:
Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh hear!
Thou on whose stream, mid the steep sky’s commotion,
Loose clouds like earth’s decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,
Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine ary surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head
Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith’s height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge
Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might
Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: oh hear!
Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lull’d by the coil of his crystalline streams,
Beside a pumice isle in Baiae’s bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave’s intenser day,
All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic’s level powers
Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know
Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: oh hear!
If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share
The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be
The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seem’d a vision; I would ne’er have striven
As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!
A heavy weight of hours has chain’d and bow’d
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.
Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies
Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!
Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like wither’d leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,
Scatter, as from an unextinguish’d hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawaken’d earth
The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
Ode to Browsing the Web (2013)
BY MARCUS WICKER
Two spiky-haired Russian cats hit kick flips
on a vert ramp. The camera pans to another
pocket of the room where six kids rocking holey
T-shirts etch aerosol lines on warehouse walls
in words I cannot comprehend. All of this
happening in a time no older than your last
heartbeat. Ive been told the internet is
an unholy placean endless intangible
stumbling ground of false deities
dogma and loneliness, sad as a pile of shit
in a world without flies. My loneliness exists
in every afterthought. Yesterday, I watched
a neighbor braid intricate waves of cornrows
into her sons tiny head and could have lived
in her focus-wrinkled brow for a living. Today
I think I practice the religion of blinking too much.
Today, I know no neighbors name and wont
know if I like it or not. O holy streaming screen
of counterculture punks, linger my lit mind
on landing stripsthrough fog, rain, hail
without care for time or density. O world
wide web, o viral video, o god of excrement
thought. Befriend me. Be fucking infectious.
Move my eyes from one sight to the next.
Your goal: Write an ode about anything you want. It can be about something mundane or something extraordinary; it can be about a loved one or someone you are interested in… as long as your poem shows intense focus and appreciation for its subject.
1. Use the breadth of your language skills to express your feelings.
2. Employ metaphorical language to describe your subject.
3. No requirements in regards to length and format. You can employ a set style or you can explode your lines in a passionate display. I want this poem to be a complete representation of your sentiments… and the approach you take will be inherently part of your expression.
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