Ode To The Sea And A Butterfly

Writing an ode is new for me. William Wordsworth favoured the Pindaric form (Well, if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me! I’ll try it!).
I heard somewhere that it’s possible to write an ode without knowing it’s an ode. Can this be true? Who knows, I may compose my poem ODE TO THE SEA AND A BUTTERFLY in the Pindaric style from sheer luck!

Ode To The Sea And A Butterfly

The Ode To The Sea And A Butterfly is about nature's healing power. It can be a source of solace and salvation. 
Oh, deep mysterious wondrous sea | Photo: Lesley Scoble
Atop the exalted cliff of Beachy Head
Melancholia looms at the edge
Sadness stands still in my stead
Sorrow stares
Watching from a ledge
Unseeing.

Salt tears flow from deep wells in my eyes
The weeping ocean far below swells and sighs 
Seagulls rest 
on the crest
of rolling waves that rise and fall			 				
Then all at once a seagull flies
and cries the seafarers call
Its wings backlit by shining sun and cerulean skies
Skimming low along undulating courses
Of ebb and flow and galloping white horses. 	
						 	 	
I never saw anything as magnificent as thee
Oh, deep mysterious wondrous sea

A butterfly flits and lands upon my knee!
Alike opening doors to let in light
It opens wide its angel fairy wings
And stays a while;
Then in soft breath it flutters off in gentle flight.
A black crow caws, a linnet sings
I brave a smile
And clasp my hands in newfound delight.

I sniff a wafting whiff of heathland sedge
and pause to think
on the high grassy edge.
I turn from the brink
of the mourning bourn 
to take one last yearning view of thee
Thou the sea will see me again
Until then,
Farewell
O, deep mysterious wondrous sea.
Away I tread 
from Beachy Head.	

Lesley Scoble September 2022


My thanks to Deepthy for coming up with a most challenging poetry prompt for W3 Prompt: “Write an Ode to a thought or idea that influenced your life and character. This can be the time you gave up something, chose your career, picked up a certain book, etc.”

My thanks also go to David Ben Alexander for encouraging me.

A little bit about ode poetry

Ode is a late 16th century word originating from French, late Latin and from the Greek ōidē. The ancient Greek aoidē meaning ‘song’, and aeidein meaning ‘sing’. An Ode is a lyrical poem that was performed accompanied by music in ancient Greece. The Romantic poets such as John Keats and William Wordsworth liked this form of poetry.

There are three specific types of Ode:

  1. They named the Pindaric after the ancient Greek poet Pindar. It is a theatrical ceremonial type of ode in a choral form (How good would that be to have a whole choir singing your ode?).
  2. The Horatian, named after the Roman poet Horace. It is a tranquil and contemplative type of ode.
  3. The Irregular form is… umm 🤔 (I need to look into this. I suppose it should be irregular? From what I’ve read, it is… hmm 🤔 To be honest, I don’t have a clue! It is something for me to look into!).
*Beachy Head is a place of outstanding beauty in Sussex, on the South Coast of England. The high cliff is a notorious spot for suicide.

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