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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

AFFIRMATION: 1. GLADNESS ODE, by             Poet Analysis    

"Affirmation: 1. Gladness Ode" is a poem written by Peter Viereck and published in his collection of poems titled "Tide and Continuities" in 1945. Viereck was an American poet who was known for his poems that dealt with historical, political and personal themes.


The poem "Affirmation: 1. Gladness Ode" celebrates the beauty and joy of life. The poem begins by describing the speaker's state of mind, which is full of joy and contentment. The speaker marvels at the beauty of nature, particularly the sunlight, which brings warmth and light into the world. The speaker compares the sunlight to a "golden liquid" that pours over the earth and brings joy to all living things.

The poem then takes a political turn, as the speaker reflects on the atrocities of war and the horrors of the Holocaust. The speaker acknowledges the pain and suffering that humans can inflict on one another, but ultimately asserts that life is worth living despite these hardships. The poem ends with a call to action, urging the reader to celebrate life and fight against hatred and intolerance.

Poetic Elements:

  • Form: The poem is written in free verse, without any specific rhyme or meter. This allows the poet to express his ideas and emotions in a more flexible and natural way.
  • Imagery: The poem is full of vivid and sensory images that evoke the beauty of nature and the joys of life. The use of visual and tactile imagery, such as "golden liquid" and "kaleidoscope of color," helps to create a rich and vibrant picture of the world.
  • Tone: The tone of the poem is celebratory and optimistic, even in the face of hardship and tragedy. The speaker's joy and contentment are infectious, and the poem encourages the reader to share in this sense of gladness.


"Affirmation: 1. Gladness Ode" is a poem that celebrates the beauty of life and the power of joy and gladness. Despite acknowledging the pain and suffering that humans can inflict on one another, the poem ultimately asserts that life is worth living and that we should celebrate it to the fullest. The poem's use of vivid imagery and celebratory tone help to create a sense of joy and optimism that is infectious and uplifting.

Poem Snippet:

"Sing of the thrilled flesh,

The body cum laude,

And the trill of the nerves

As they tingle and jingle.

Sing of the blood

And its passionate flood

In the rhythm of life

Running over and under."


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