The Odes (ὠδή) of Mars (♂) by Devereux

•July 22, 2010 • 1 Comment

The “Odes of Mars” is a proposal for a little book of poetry by Matthew Devereux with a very simple essential idea: odes written in honour of people doing the good stuff in the world at the moment who I admire.  It is called “Odes of Mars” in honour of H.G.Wells, who wrote in Woking, as I do, and also in honour of Vangelis (particularly “The Conquest of Paradise“) and of Gustav Holst (particularly his “Venus, bringer of peace“).  It is also named in honour of the Beagle 2.

This blog is composed of a few sample semi-odes.  I realise that technically none of these are probably classed as odes, since they do not have the requisite strophes, antistrophes or epodes, but they are works in progress.  Please humour me: it’s a petit jeu d’esprit, and a little folly, as Erasmus might have had it.

Only two of the images are by me.  All of the words are.

One. ODE TO KUTSKI (BBC Radio One DJ, amongst many other things)


never stuck in a rutski,

Jabberwocking like a jetski,

Perky and pesky,

More goals than Heskey.

Tremendous and tricksy,

The brightest and the besty.

Harder housed than the restski.

Wickeder than Wikipedia,

The mogul of the media.

Puckish and ritzy,

More goals than Wayne Gretzky.

A born talker –

John ‘Sky’ Walker.

Picture of Kutski in mspaint by me above.

This is a picture by me of four crazy hardstyle dancers inspired by Kutski and Quentin Blake and John Tenniel among many other artists.  One day I would love to paint people dancing at hardstyle raves.  One of the central progressions of Impressionism was that people painted ‘en pleine air’, in the open air.  I would like to paint ‘en pleine rave’ and capture the extraordinary and beautiful energy of the scene.

Two. ODE TO REW LOWE (Actor/Performer/Theatre Impressario/Accordian Player/Thespian/Educationista/Clown/Beau Vivant/Raconteur/Bon Viveur/Jongleur/Flaneur/Juggler)

Go gadget go!
Rew like Rimbaud
Go fast, go slow
Dance, masque, do-ce-do
Yo yo yo –
Our theatrical Rambo!

Be not meek;
Ague your cheeks.
Upstage us, engage us
Against the dying of the light
Enrage us.
Mimetically feed us back our pain.
Make it rain. Make the sun shine again.

Turn the folio page
Usher in our new age.
We need your jackanory
So talespin fresh stories
Of mourning and of glory.

Our lives are a muddle.
And a mad mad juggle.

Accordingly, accordian.
Thou vorpal vaudevillian.
Quill and quadrille us
By the quadrillion.
From the return of the king
to the silmarillion.

Three. ODE TO BEDROS AFEYAN (Polymath)



Afeyan – roaring lion

Afire like Aslan.

Tailspin and talisman.

Going to it

Like Carl Sandburg’s Jazzmen.

From Gaussian numbers

To tangoes and rhumbas

Via Wigner functions,

Long luncheons

Of computations and conundrums.

Distributing phase space

All over the place;

Orchestras of semiconductors.

Lasers, waves and particles –

the genuine articles.

Music of the spheres,

the visionaries and the seers.

Your physics is effervescent interpretation

of our evanescence.

And the universe’s

immortal incandescence.

And munificient beneficence.

And impermanence and magnifii-sense.

Four.  ODE TO MARC OVERMARS (Retired Dutch footballer)

My fourth ode

Of my Odes of Mars

Is a short ode

To Marc Overmars.

(And to Mark Overmars)

A hymn to the Delightful Dutch:

Ever eager to please,

From ‘Meep Meep’ to Miep Gies.

From Erasmus to Elstak to Escher.

From tulip crazes, Van Gogh mazes,

to Golden Ages, Spinoza sages, Van Stein webpages,

and coffeeshop release of pressure.

An embarrasment of riches,

Little boy dykes, drainage ditches.

The importance of being Ernst.

To the Max (OK, he was German).

As was Hesse, Swiss Hermann.


My Fifth Ode

Of My Odes of Mars

Is an even shorter

ode to the Volta.

Hit me like kinetic energy.

Or the films of Fellini.

Upper me like Volta,

Vaunt me like Voltaire.

Electromotive as ampere.

Ohm, ah, hum.

Do re me.

So faso so good.


Drive me in (USB).


Marr, substitute ‘s’ for second ‘r’

And we have a Martian on our hands.

But where is our Martial

To write your epigrams?


In a world of artifice and artificiality

your Art of Speech is

that you disdain banality,

speak from your heart,

and read us your reality.

Your speech is so swell

You’re in the same league

As Orson Welles

And the Wells of H.G.

(Mercury) –

You hold the key.

Give us your therapy.

Be quicker than silver,

be clever, deliver, sharp arrow your quiver.

You’re highly prized.   So make your songs and sagas super-sized:

free of our epoch’s interminable blah-blah,

and even bigger than Dada!


More Leviathan than Thomas,

From leftfield to the University of Sheffield

Your work is Gargantuan.

Be not afraid like Quixote the Mantuan.

There is method in your madness (man).

Enjoy the lecture halls and student balls.

You see what is written on the subway walls.

Just make sure to eat plenty of Pantagruel for breakfast.

And play lots of MAH Jong.  Maybe with Erica. 麻將.

Live long and prosper.  Like Roska.

Nine.  ODE TO KATY RAFFIN (Director of the Katy Raffin Literary, Theatrical, Artistic, Photographic, Cinematographic and Musical Talent Agency)

No riff-raff:

The winner of the raffles.

Wonka tickets.  Press junkets.

Up for grabs and up for snaffles.

Mine are oysters, Miles Davis trumpets,

truffles and crumpets.

Tea with hundreds of sugars, like it or lump it.

Let’s do lunch.

Pow-wow: power lunching,

The new literarti munch bunch.

How’s your female intuition?

Got a hunch?

Agenting is a cinch.  Just Gruffalogrinch.

Argentina; silver salvers.  Quavers to savour.  Quadrilles of flavour.

A little salt, a little pinch.

Condiments and sensational conversations

in crosstown traffic conurbations.

Thrills, rills and trills,

And pickle dills.

Iller communication than the Beastie Boys:

At lunch I shall wear a ruff like an Elizabethan gentleman,

ruffle feathers, and ROFL the regulars.

Wasabi, horseradish, soy.

The poetry of the hoi polloi.

Oi oi!