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Hello poets. Today is the day in Sweden when we officially welcome spring, in many places people light bonfires and choirs are giving a welcome to the spring. First of May is a holiday, so many take the possibility to celebrate a little extra. I might be a little absent as I will cheering to the spring a little.

Turtle and a winged demon by Hieronymus Bosch

Turtle and a winged demon by Hieronymus Bosch

Today I will continue a little bit from my Pubtalk, where we discussed metaphors and how to come up with them. For my poetry metaphors are crucial, but it is always a challenge on how to be original, and a bad metaphor is worse than no metaphor at all. In the comments Marina Sofia mentioned a method that I intend us to play with today, and when searching on the internet I came upon the term Catachresis which will be the subject today before coming to the prompt.

First a few words about metaphors. Every metaphor ever invented was once unique, and later used by others to the extent that they become cliche. A few metaphors might become idioms dying to become a part of ordinary language. Many times we do not even think about them as metaphors any longer. Take for example the body of a text, and I think few of us would think of the text consisting of flesh and bones (except as metaphors).There is a richness in old metaphors that is a goldmine, but if used directly there is a risk our poems become flat and uninteresting. Love can not be a rose or summer’s day for instance without making us think about Shakespeare or Burns.

Catachresis originally come from greek (κατάχρησις) and means abuse. When used as a literary device, we misuse the language for literary effect. For instance when E.E. Cummings writes:

the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

he uses the illogical connection between voice and eyes and between the hands and rain. Or maybe a little bit in the same way Hieronymus Bosch creates his grotesque pictures.

Many other famous poets (for instance Shakespeare, Dickinson and Pope) have played around with this seemingly illogical connections to create a new and original effect. This is however very difficult to do, and now I come to the little game of tonight. It is to really mix cliche metaphors, idioms or maybe even corporate jargon into new and unexpected combinations to create new effects. You can either pick the combinations by random or put a little bit of thinking into it, and then from let these combinations spark your muse. You can use one such combination or many, the choice is yours. Often the effect can be comical, and why not put a smile on my face 🙂

Where does for instance: “bang your head against the wrong tree” lead your thoughts?

A source of cliche figure of speech:

A source of corporate jargon:

and A source for idioms:

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