Modern odes are often free-verse poetry, declaring one’s love or appreciation for nature or everyday things. More classic odes, such as the Pindaric or Horatian, were often song-like and followed certain rhyming patterns.
Regardless of how they are categorized, odes are usually quite passionate and euphonious. I almost posted To Autumn by John Keats, or Ode to Salt by Pablo Neruda, which are both wonderful, but I came upon Alice Cary’s “To Solitude” and decided to use it as the sample:
I am weary of the working,
Weary of the long day’s heat;
To thy comfortable bosom,
Wilt thou take me, spirit sweet?
Weary of the long, blind struggle
For a pathway bright and high,—
Weary of the dimly dying
Hopes that never quite all die.
Weary searching a bad cipher
For a good that must be meant;
Discontent with being weary,—
Weary with my discontent.
I am weary of the trusting
Where my trusts but torments prove;
Wilt thou keep faith with me? wilt thou
Be my true and tender love?
I am weary drifting, driving
Like a helmless bark at sea;
Kindly, comfortable spirit,
Wilt thou give thyself to me?
Give thy birds to sing me sonnets?
Give thy winds my cheeks to kiss?
And thy mossy rocks to stand for
The memorials of our bliss?
I in reverence will hold thee,
Never vexed with jealous ills,
Though thy wild and wimpling waters
Wind about a thousand hills.
Read more about Alice Cary.
More about poetry: a to z.