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Metaphor = A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.

Metaphor is a basic tool of poetry.  Many poets here at PMO are masters of the metaphor, admittedly I am not one of them. Most of my metaphors are cliché.   Maybe that is why I write so many haiku where there simply is no room for metaphor.   I'm usually pretty literal in my scribbling but I'm always seeking to expand and improve my writing so I continue to chase after the illusive metaphor.  

Recently I read a list of things that might spark an idea, prompt metaphor.  I share it here and may give some of these a try.   You all are welcome to give these a try and share your poem in this thread or at least link it back here.  I'm always excited to read what others might do with a particular prompt.  We all have our own unique perspectives.

To be honest when I first saw this list I was excited about giving these prompts a try. Now stepping back, rereading the lists, my mind goes blank and nothing comes to me. But it is still a good idea and I'm not going to give up on it. I want to explore all avenues as a poet.  Won't you join me?

List 1

knotted sheets
shriveled dandelion
steam-fogged glasses                                                                              
silver ribbons
splintered wood
iridescent bubbles
age-softened cotton
baby powder
copper coins
taste of vanilla extract


List 2

bad dreams
a lost child
missing piece of jewelry
antique book
changing seasons
upset stomach

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Okay, Judi, I can share something that I wrote some years ago that could fall under the prompt "love." As you know, I'm keen on metaphor--especially extended metaphor, which technique I started cultivating years ago after receiving repeated criticism that I tended to mix metaphors in my poems. Since I rely on metaphor so reflexively, eschewing it from my poems really seemed out of the question, so extending it instead seemed the most appropriate remedy. I've found that maintaining the consistency of a metaphor through all the twists and turns that a poem can take can be really tricky--but trying to navigate all those passages with integrity is a really intriguing, exciting challenge once embraced.






I knew your love was nothing but fool’s gold,

But there was just enough in its allure

As I went wandering, alone, heart-poor,

Enthralled by thoughts of treasure I could hold.

I spied your pieces, bright as real gold gleams,

But shrewder eyes would soon have spotted brass

Where richer tones should be. Of all this mass,

I couldn’t forge a fleck to fit my dreams.


Some months before, I’d left the wilder lands

Where I had shoveled for more honest stuff

And labored long, and sweated till my hands

Held some small specks. I might’ve dug enough,

But truer ore was so much harder mined

I dropped my spade and grabbed your love, half-blind.


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  • 1 month later...

Sorry, I've been off grid for the last month.   Playing catch up again.  

Hmmm,  fools gold a metaphor for a perceived love that didn't pan out.  😍  Sorry,  it really is a skilled piece and you work the metaphor through out.  Nicely done. 


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~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Thanks Judi, it makes me feel great that I'm not the only one who needs substantial amounts of time to take care of personal tasks! In the next few weeks, I'll be needing to spend a bunch of time on self-employment taxes, so if people don't see hide nor hair of me for awhile, that'll be one reason.

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