Today I wanted to revisit one of my favorite subjects of writing (poetry), and that is the metaphor. To expand on something and create something entirely new and unique.
First of all, the metaphor is not the same as the simile.
The simile compares something to something else…
Consider Robert Burns:
O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.
It does compares his love to a rose and a melody, but had it been a metaphor it would have said that his love was a rose.
The second thing about a metaphor is that it has to be new and unique. Otherwise it’s in best case repeating a well known cliche, and in worst case stealing (that said you can come up with the same idea independently)
Consider for example Emily Dickenson
“Hope” is the thing with feathers —
That perches in the soul —
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops — at all —
I can see Emily sitting in her room watching a feather floating in the sun and connected this to something so abstract as hope. How would you describe hope?
Metaphors are also best used to express abstract concepts such as emotions, or describe someone’s character.
It often helps to make the metaphor exact and precise.
Consider for instance Pablo Neruda
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
Which also includes the negation of a metaphor (I do feel that he is referring Burns by saying that his love is not like rose or the gem, which is close to a cliche by now. Instead he digs deeper into the darkness and I feel that he refers to his love to something growing from the soil. He leaves the ethereal and seeks the roots.
So today I want you to invent new metaphors, try to surprise, combine them and paint your emotions or feelings in the you like (which is actually a cliche in itself). Do not hesitate to make them complex.
When you have written your poem, link it up below, and leave a comment below.
Do not forget to read, comment and learn from all the excellent poets who visit the bar.