Thursday, April 26, 2012

Metaphors Make Me Happy

Metaphors help us create the images (or pictures) inside poems. Traditionally the creation of metaphor has been represented as an act of transference in which an unknown or an imperfectly known is clarified, defined or described in terms of a known.

They were on the telephone in the middle of the night.  She told him quietly: because of you, I cannot sleep. He imagined her face, a small white stone in the dark

Instead of making a comparison between her face and the stone, the stone and the face become one!

Metaphors involve comparison, juxtaposition, tension, combination, analogy, contrast and FUSION.  Implicit in metaphor is the idea of two separate ideas/images being brought together to create a new (or more vivid) picture or image—one that is fresh, unexpected.  The metaphor should also “click” or fit itself together smoothly, without awkwardness.  A brilliant metaphor tends to make a strange, unusual, fantastic kind of “sense."
  • learning how to use metaphor is like learning how to SWISH in basketball—you need to practise, to try the shot from different angles, get a “feel” for it, develop an “instinct”
  • we already know how to use metaphorical language, because we use it in everyday life all the time, without even thinking about it: She’s a quiet little mouse! I’ve come up against a brick wall!


My cat is fat and grey.                     OR    My cat is a heavy rain cloud.

My mother is sweet.                         OR    My mother is a piece of chocolate cake.

Lisa is quiet and mysterious.           OR    Lisa is the forest and a sky full of stars.

I’m tired and I can’t think!              OR    My brain is a stale sandwich!

My dad is worn out and grumpy.    OR    My dad is a tired old boot.


Make up metaphors for three people you are close to. Once you've created a metaphor you are happy with, build a poem around it adding as much detail (Use your senses! Paint me a picture with words!) as possible. Put the poem in a drawer for a day and go back to it. Do you want to change it in any way? Do you want to move a word or take a word out? Tinker with your poem. Read it aloud to yourself. Give yourself a big hug for writing it!

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