A Friend Is What Brings You Joy: A lesson on odes & friendship

Friends are a gift. They make us feel good. Friends make us laugh; they make us smile; they support us and want what’s best for us. What’s even better is that friends can take many forms. A friend is a thing you spend quality time with and that brings you joy!

A friend can be a person—a neighbor, a classmate, a family friend. A friend can be a pet—your dog, your cat, your snake. Animals, whether pets or in the wild, can certainly make us smile, right?

Brainstorm: Who is a friend to you? Remember this person or thing for our later exercise.

Federico García Lorca wrote a poem to his friend Salvador Dalí. He wrote what’s called an ode. Odes are dedications to a person, animal, place, or even to an object. In odes we can list facts about that friend, as well as how that friend makes us feel.

Notice that Federico talks about what he and Salvador share: thoughts, love, friendship, Catalonia (a place in Spain), and the clashing of swords. He also describes what his friend Salvador enjoys: explanations and art. Federico even mentions Salvador’s fears.

Excerpt from “Ode to Salvador Dalí” by Federico García Lorca

Oh Salvador Dalí of the olive voice!

I speak of what you and your paintings tell me.

I don’t praise your imperfect adolescent brush,

but I sing the firm aim of your arrows.

I sing your sweet battle of Catalan lights,

your love of what might be explained.

I sing your heart astronomical, tender,

a deck of French cards, and never wounded.

I sing longing for statues, sought without rest,

your fear of emotions that wait in the street.

I sing the tiny sea-siren who sings to you

riding a bicycle of corals and conches.

But above all I sing a shared thought

that joins us in the dark and the golden hours.

It is not Art, this light that blinds our eyes.

Rather it is love, friendship, the clashing of swords.


Think of your friend and complete the following sentences:

  • My friend likes to…
  • My friend is really good at…
  • My friend’s hair/fur/scales are the color of…
  • My friend’s eyes are…
  • My friend says…
  • My friend wants to say…
  • My friend loves…
  • My friend fears…
  • When we get together my friend and I…
  • My friend’s heart is like…

How does this friend make you feel? Complete the sentences.

  • My friend makes me smile when they…
  • My friend helps me when I’m sad by…
  • I look forward to seeing my friend because…
  • My favorite quality of my friend is…
  • My friend and I share…


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