Drafting an Ode

Regarding the writing of poetry: It’s only been the last few years that I’ve started to explore forms of any sort.  Like so many folks, I fell into the camp of “forms are restricting,” while – if I’m honest with myself – they intimidated me more than just a little.

Last week I had the chance to participate in a writing party hosted by Leigh Anne Eck of Time to Write.  The event, in keeping with February as a month of love, was an opportunity to experiment with odes.   

To me, an ode has always been a lengthy affair, and John Keats sort of sets the standard.  That said, we were given a simple template: Involve the senses, and end with a question and an answer.  While that’s certainly not the only way to write an ode, it worked for me during that session.

Ode to the Trail – 1

The trail leads ever onward, or so it’s said
I see it before me, disappearing around the bend
So who am I to disagree?
Woodland path, you invite me to walk in your way
Your muted voice, sounding as the wind
to those who don’t know your words, calls to me
In the distance of a few steps, I am enveloped
Your earthen aroma washing over me 
and your rustling leaves quieting the voices within my head
“Are you complete without me?” I ask
“Yes, and may I ask the same of you,” is your reply
No, and again, no

Draft, February 2022

14 thoughts on “Drafting an Ode”

  1. What a beautiful poem, Tim. I have to hand it to you for trying a style of poetry you weren’t completely comfortable with. You’ve inspired me not only to try an ode, but to simply try writing that I wouldn’t normally think of. My favorite part? The double question at the end, with the no…and no.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lainie. Like I said, I was (and might still be) under the belief that the form was a long one with at least three of four stanzas. It was fun to find our otherwise! I like the end as well, and was thrilled to have it come to me. {smile}

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In a word: Magnificent! It is true that forms can be restricting. Sometimes I’ve had to abandon one form for another. Sometimes, though, form is the perfect gateway for the Muse, helping to corral the words. Your sensory imagery here is incredible and rich – I feel the pulling of the woodland path. That ending – the path being complete without you, but you not being complete without it – just phenomenal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Fran, for your comments and especially for “helping to corral the words” — that’s a great way to describe how I’ve been thinking about this one. Like I told Lainie in a previous comment, I like the ending as well, and was thrilled to have it come to me. {smile}

      Liked by 1 person

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