Ever heard of it? Me neither. A poet I am clearly not, however I got a real kick out of this fun idea which called for some cerebral calisthenics on my part. The good kind! The fun kind! What the heck is it you ask?
Well, let’s break it down.
First the ode part…
Well, that’s a poem that deals with thoughts about an idea or subject written in lines & stanzas (groups of lines) varying in length and is usually written in an elevated style often expressing deep feeling. Don’t allow me to lose you there… stick with me like glue! ‘cuz it’s really quite simple… that’s just the technical jargon to get out of the way.
You can write an ‘ode’ to anything really… a food, a person, a season, a bird, or any number of things. When I looked various random ‘odes’ up via the internet, I found many different topics including:
An Ode to….
People out there in cyberspace harnessed poetic powers to describe adoration for a dog, a bird, food, sports, a feeling…. and the toilet? I’d like to believe the ode to a bathroom noun was merely an English assignment. An English assignment no doubt submitted from a student of lukewarm interest who decided to take a humorous approach, and perhaps disguised with a mild display of protest. Conversely, seems like odes to food were quite the rage! And although the ode to the commode took me by surprise, it definitely speaks to the fact you can write an ode about anything at all.
So what about the Zip Code?
Besides being your federally appointed numerical designation and that which you deemed a mere mailing address necessity all these years, it’s actually more than just 5 digits assigned to your place in the world; it’s an identity! Who knew you could go so deep into the recesses of your locale as defined by the U.S. Postal Service?
By challenging yourself (or others) to memorialize your zip code in the poetic style of YOU and your life! Ahhh, but there’s a slight catch… just a few rules you must follow… and that’s also where the Zip Code comes in yet again. Shakespeare is not on the horizon so breathe deep and press on towards your zip code inspired poem. Trust me when I say it’s kind of addictive.
Here’s the deal:
Write 5 lines wherein the amount of words on each line is dictated by the digit. For example, if your zip code is 44262, your first line would need 4 words, your second line 4 words, the third line only 2 words, the 4th line 6 words and the last line 2 words. Here’s where it gets challenging but interesting… you must focus on that locale and your place within it.
For example, you might seek to impart how this place has impacted you, memories you recall, things you’ve seen, people, or absolutely anything you choose to include. Timing can be past, present or future as the possibilities for content are limitless. You can even choose to write your ‘ode to zip code for other places in your life which occupy an endearing space in your heart such as vacation destinations, prior places you lived, where you grew up, went to school, etc.
Here are a few examples of odes to a zip code I wrote one day while enjoying time over a camping vacation on Beaver Island which is situated on Lake Michigan and where the zip code happens to be #49782.
4 – Seated on the beach…
9 – the ‘Emerald Isle’ makes her way against the tide.
7 – Gulls hover on the winds of time…
8 – Crests of waves shimmer to the horizon afar.
2 – Moments unrivaled.
4 – An island tucked away…
9 – yet accessible for those who would seek to find.
7 – A place where strangers wave to passersby.
8 – Where “pretentious” no longer exists in the dictionary.
2 – Time traveled.
Even my little 7-yr old granddaughter, Trinity came up with her very own and with no coaxing from me… complete with illustration no less!
So the very next time you find yourself sinking into the life of a certain zip code or you feel in the mood to reminisce a bit… grab a pen & paper and start jotting down some odes to your zip code. You may surprise yourself to find it a great exercise for your brain, but also a fun activity to add to a journal or scrapbook. And if you happen to be an English teacher who’s never heard of this… I just delivered a lesson plan idea with which you can have some fun!