Friday, April 3, 2009

Poem: An Unusual Ode

(National Poetry Month Official Poster, from T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock")

I wrote three poems today -- two of them are very serious and require more thought and work than I can give them in only a day, and one I'm saving for Good Friday next week. One of them actually rhymes and everything. (I usually write in free verse, so rhyming is quite a departure for me.) So, still needing an idea for a poem to post today, I scoured the website, finally locating some prompts. One suggestion for writing poems was on composing unusual odes. I looked up "ode" at and found this definition from a cultural dictionary:

ODE: A kind of poem devoted to the praise of a person, animal, or thing. An ode is usually written in an elevated style and often expresses deep feeling. An example is “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” by John Keats
The prompt mentioned odes to cockroaches, traffic, etc. Unusual odes, to be sure. I thought I would write an ode to Southern California Traffic, but it quickly transitioned to an ode to SMOG. Smog (smoke + fog) isn't quite as much of a problem in San Diego as it has been in Los Angeles to the north, but when the wind comes from the north, we get far more than our usual share that blankets our coasts and mountains. One great advantage to living in the mountains is that we live pretty much above the icky brownish-gray stuff. So here is a hurried rough draft of an ode to ... smog (ever-so-slightly tongue-in-cheek).

An Ode to Southern California Smog

O, Smog --
Spewing from tailpipes
Before, beside, behind me --
Birthed from sedans, vans
(both full-sized and mini),
Pick-ups, 18-wheelers, Hummers,
And even the occasional

You ring the mountains,
Tarnishing their sharp shapes
With somber grays and browns --
Only unmasking pure beauty
With the next rainfall.

(c) 2009 Susanne Barrett
So, can you compose an unusual ode? If you do, please put the link in the comments section -- I'd love to read it!

1 comment:

Dancingirl said...

More than a little tongue-in-cheek, I'd say! I enjoyed it. (As well as the other ones you've written.)


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