Odes: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Do you have someone or something that you think is super amazing? Well, you might want to learn how to write an ode! Not only will this lesson give you some ode-writing tips, it will also share what an ode is, as well as some famous examples.

Defining an Ode

Think about something or someone that you really love. Something or someone that you think is truly awesome. Have you ever expressed your thankfulness or admiration for it, or him or her? Well, one way that you can pay tribute to this person or thing is by writing an ode.

An ode is a type of poem or song that is focused on something or someone that is praiseworthy. The word ode comes from the Greek - aeidein - which means to sing or chant.

Odes can show thankfulness

Types of Odes

Pindaric odes, named for the Greek poet Pindar, are characterized by their length, bold metaphors (or comparisons), and big transitions between topics. They have three major parts. Many Pindaric odes were written about religion or politics in a dramatic and formal manner. In ancient times, Pindaric poems were written for victorious athletes and performed with dancers and singers.

Horatian odes, named for the Roman poet Horace, are less dramatic and pretty informal. They are shorter than Pindaric odes and consist of 2-4 line stanzas. They have an elegant, serene and more private feel to them. Horatian odes can be about almost any topic, like animals, nature or a beautiful person.

Irregular odes don't have to follow a certain pattern. This means that they can be goofy or serious, long or short - its up to the poet! Many modern odes, or odes that were written more recently, follow a looser structure.

Famous Odes

One of the most famous Pindaric odes is 'Intimations of Immortality' written by William Wordsworth in 1807. This ode was about the importance of having a strong relationship with nature. In the ode, the young child grows up and begins to lose this strong connection with nature. A famous excerpt from this poem reads:

'Turn wheresoe'er I may,

By night or day,

The things which I have seen I now can see no more.'

'Ode to the Confederate Dead' is a famous Horatian poem by William Tate written in 1928. The Confederate soldiers were the military men and women who fought for the South in the Civil War. Many of them lost their lives in the war, and William Tate wrote this ode to express his sadness about their passing and gratitude for their service. A famous excerpt from this poem reads:

'What shall we say who have knowledge

Carried to the heart? Shall we take the act

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