The Pindaric Ode

One of my favorite styles of poetry is called the Pindaric Ode named after the Greek poet Pindar. It is basically an enthusiastic and elaborately designed lyric which was composed by the poet Pindar. It’s comprised of a strophe and anti strophe and epode. I know, it’s all Greek to me too. A strophe is a turning as a chorus moving to one side. An antistrophe is the counter-turn as the chorus moves in the opposite direction. An epode is a standing still of the chorus. These were all used in plays and choruses. In general terms or plain English the strophe would consist of four rhyming lines with the first and third lines rhyming and the second and fourth lines rhyming. The antistrophe consists of two exact rhymed lines followed by two short rhymed lines in contrast to the strophe. The epode is the ending which consists of one line rhyming with the two shorts. I know this is confusing so here is an example. This is a pindaric ode I wrote several years ago for a religious publication:


On thy lips fruit of the vine
Shall evoke a taste of shame
Martyred bloodshed cup of wine
Invisible in His name.

Thy wrath befell upon the sight
Of Devils’ chance to winged flight

Yet we
Shall see

Lion and lamb lie down with thee.

The most important elements are that the lines have an exact rhyme scheme with a lyrical intent. When you recite or hear a pindaric ode it should sound like a song. The master at writing Pindaric odes was John Donne. So make sure to read some of his work. It is difficult to pull off a rhyme scheme such as this without sounding like greeting card verse. In today’s markets, there really isn’t a huge demand for this type of writing however when I read poetry for pleasure, these are the patterns I read.


VanillaSeven said…
Beautiful pindaric Joanne.
Jesus is both our Lion and Lamb :)

Have a wonderful blessed weekend!
Icy BC said…
This is great lesson Jo! I will be paying more attention for this style!
Ratty said…
I get to learn more about poetry from you. I like the structure of this one. Even though I will probably never try to write much poetry, I always try to think of ways to use things like this in any writing I do. I have read whole stories that are written in the form of poetry or music.
I love that poem that you wrote. To me, it sounds ancient. It brings an ancient feel to me...I feel that someone wrote it a hundred years ago! And I like that!

I never know what style of poetry I am writing, while I am writing! I just write! And for some reason, somehow, I end up with a style!!!!!
Mountain Woman said…
Oh my goodness that sounds so intimidating and you did it. With a beautiful, fabulous poem. How fantastic and talented you are.
Glynis said…
Loved this piece, you certainly mastered it well.
zorlone said…
I love this one Joanne! I'll give it a try and let you know. Maybe we can chant some lines while we're at it. he he he.

BTW, the song was very moving. Somehow, the presence of a lion and a lamb together pertains peace (for me).


Vagabonde said…
I just found your blog through the Everyday Adventurer. I lived in San Francisco for 10 years (in the 60s) and your pictures make me very nostalgic. Yesterday I sent a comment to one of the blogs I read called Napple Notes, here is the site for the post: The subject was can you really translate poems in another language. My comments were that it is very difficult. I am French and love some French poems but feel that when they are translated in English their sounds, or cadence is lost. You may go and read Napple Notes as she has some good poems. She is in the UK. I’ll go and tell her to read your blog.
Thanks Vanilla.

Icy, this style is very obscure but I love it.

Ratty, this particular style is perfect for music.

Charity, it is ancient - just like me :)

Mountain Woman, Ah, thank you so much for your kind words.

Glynis, thanks so much,

Z, lol, I think you would master this style very well.

Vagabonde, Thanks for stopping by.
RNSANE said…
I don't think this poetic style is for me but you certainly mastered it superbly - as you do any type of poetry.
jinksy said…
It's taken me a while to end up here, but I was surprise to see Vagabonde's comment when I did arrive. Blogspot certainly spreads the word!

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