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Hello, it’s Mish here from mishunderstood.wordpress.com. Welcome to Open Link Night where we come together from all over the world to share ONE poem with our fellow poets.

Have you been watching the Olympics? I think it’s a breath of fresh air to see the action, interaction and friendly(?) competition between countries during this long stretch of “not so normal” existence.

I was curious about how poetry played a role in the history of Olympic Games. The very first festivals of competition in ancient Greece included poetry and music. Verses were sung in praise of the competitors. Some athletes hired poets to write victory odes. At the earliest sporting events, poets took advantage of the crowd, setting up their own personal soap boxes to recite their work.

In 1896, French Baron, Pierre de Coubertin revived the Greek tradition, creating the modern Olympic Games as we know today. He felt strongly that the arts be included. Painting, architecture, music and yes, POETRY all became a part of the competitive events until 1948. Coubertin entered his own poem at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, winning a gold medal. I find it to be timeless, perceptive and inspiring.

Ode to Sport
 -by Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937)

O Sport, delight of the Gods, distillation of lift! In the grey dingle of modern existence, restless with barren toil, you suddently appeared like the shining messenger of vanished ages, those ages when humanity could smile. And to the mountain tops came dawn’s first glimmer, and sunbeams dappled the forest’s gloomy floor.

O Sport, you are Beauty!  You – the architect of this house, the human body, which may become object of sublime according as to whether it is defiled by base passions or cherished with wholesome endeavour. There can be no beauty without poise and proportion, and you are the incomparable master of both, for you create harmony, you fill movement with rhythm, you make strength gracious, and you lend power to supple things.

O Sport, you are Justice! The perfect fairness which men seek in vain in their social institutions rises around you of its own accord. No man can surpass by one centimetre the height he can jump of the time for which he can run. His combined strength of body and mind alone set the bounds to his success.

O Sport, you are Daring! The whole meaning of muscular effort lies in one word – to dare. What good are muscles, what good is it to feel nimble and strong and to train one’s nimbleness and strength if not to dare? But the daring you inspire is far from the rashness which impels the gambler to stake his all on a throw. It is a prudent and considered daring.

O Sport, you are Honour! The titles you bestow are worthless save if won in absolute fairness and perfect unselfishness. Whoever succeeds in deceiving his fellows by some ignoble trick, suffers the shame of it in the depths of himself and dreads the dishonourable epithet which will be coupled with his name if the fraud from which he prospers should come to light.

O Sport, you are Joy! At your call the flesh makes holiday and the eyes smile; the blood flows free and strong in the arteries. Thought’s horizon grows lighter and more clear. Even to the griefstricken you can bring a healing distraction from their sorrows, while you enable the happy to taste the joy of living to the full.

O Sport, you are Fecundity! You tend by straight and noble paths towards a more perfect race, blasting the seeds of sickness and righting the flaws which threaten its needful soundness. And you quicken within the athlete the wish to see growing about him brisk and sturdy sons to follow him in the arena and in their turn bear off joyous laurels.

O Sport, you are Progress! To serve you well, man must better himself in body and in soul. You enjoin him to observe a loftier hygiene; you require him refrain from all excess. You teach him wise rules which will give his effort the maximum intensity without impairing the balance of his health.

O Sport, you are Peace! You forge happy bonds between the peoples by drawing them together in reverence for strength which is controlled, organised and self-disciplined. Through you the young of all the world learn to respect one another, and thus the diversity of national traits becomes a source of generous and peaceful emulation.

We are not giving out medals today and there is no competition but let’s join together in the spirit of friendship and poetry, and share ONE poem! Any style, any topic. On your mark, get set, go!

Image credit: pixabay.com

Resource credits: www.kmbc.com




To qualify for OLN, all you have to do is:

  • Write a poem on your blog. Tada! You’ve already won.
  • Add your name and a link directly to your one poem via Mr. Linky below.
  • Do a fancy dive into the pool of poetry links. Read and comment.
  • Please link back to dVerse from your site/blog. It’s not a triathlon.
  • Surf, sail or swim into the pub. Take a break and chat.
  • Enjoy!