One of the most important things in poetry is the use of unique metaphors, and today I thought that we should work with them a bit.

My wings are poetry

Let us start with some definitions.

A metaphor states that one thing is another thing. Remember that it’s not “like” another thing (that is a simile).

A metaphor equates two things not because they are the same but because there is a symbolic resemblance or comparison.

A metaphor can not be taken literary. In many cases I think that the more surprising they are the better they are.

A metaphor can be used not only in poetry but also in other texts and in day to day speech.

What is special in poetry is that the poet has to find unique metaphors. Our day to day language is filled with metaphors that have become idioms, cliches or just part of our day to day language.

Today I would like you to take words and things around you and try to equate them to something symbolic such as an emotion, or the description of a person.

To make them unique fill the imagery with descriptions. For example don’t just say a car but say a rusty yellow 1977 Volkswagen Beetle… Make them as rich and specific as you can.

When you have a few description try to equate them to something abstract such a sense of love or another person’s rage. You can also equate them to something hard to grasp in a person. Maybe your boss has axes in his mouth…

I made a small effort the other day trying to equate sorrow to the leaves on a tree.

You left when leaves were dirty rags,
when foliage shrunk to tattered shrouds
dangling on the barren boughs.

When you have one or several metaphors build a poem around them.

Remember that you can also combine your metaphors with other prompts, for example using two contradicting metaphors or a negation can make for very interesting poetry to strengthen the emotions you want to write about.

You can use any form (or lack of form) except forms that actually “prohibits” metaphors such as haiku (then it’s not haiku).

If at the end you prefer to tone them down to similes I’m fine with that too.

But most importantly make them you own, don’t recycle old metaphors…

When you are ready link up your poem on Mr Linky below, leave a comment and most importantly never forget to read other poems. I think it is most helpful if you describe how you feel when reading about a metaphor.