Word Play Wednesday   # 5       Marvelous Metaphors

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Metaphor: a figure of speech which makes an implied comparison between things that are unrelated but may share some characteristics.

 

Welcome back! Last time we played around with similes . Today we are going to tinker with metaphors.

 

Similes and metaphors both shape and strengthen our thinking and writing as we seek to create our own new and fresh expressions rather than relying on those we have heard many times.

I believe that of the two, metaphors have more power and actually lend themselves to more creativity. By omitting “as” or “like”,   you actually say that one object is another.

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There are several compelling reasons to use metaphors in your writing. They allow you to:
~Create original, eloquent description.
~Transmit complex ideas in a few words.
~Stimulate readers to deeper thinking and interpretation.

 

Metaphors often employ a form of the verb “to be”, by saying something is or was another, different object.

Shakespeare used many metaphors:

 

“All the world’s a stage.”

“ It is the East and Juliet is the sun.”

“ Now is the winter of our discontent.”

 

Song writers do as well:

 

“ You ain’t nothing but a hound dog.” ( Elvis)

” Baby, you’re a firework.” ( Katy Perry)

 

Metaphors are often used by both poets and fiction writers to create memorable or striking word pictures.

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For instance, in this line from “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes, “The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas”, creates a dramatic mental picture of a stormy night.  As the opening line of the poem, Noyes’ metaphor sets the tone and mood of the piece.

 

An implied  metaphor omits using “is” or “was” . Rather it compares two things without directly mentioning one of them.

 

Sarah barked orders to her children. ( compares Sarah to a dog.)

Mary fluttered about the house anticipating the party. ( compares Mary to a butterfly)

 

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Here is a poem by Beverly McLoughland that uses implied metaphor.

Night Story

When the blue page of day,

Is turned into night,

An alphabet of stars

Is printed, small and bright,

On dark and ancient-storied skies-

 

We read the universe

With wondering eyes.

 

Metaphors can be lots of fun to create.

 

Right now I am looking out my studio window. I can see trees, sky, flowers, and the traffic moving by on the road. I am going to come up with some metaphors for the things I see.

 

First I need to notice the characteristics of the objects I am going to describe and list adjectives.

Road- busy, noisy, well-traveled

Sky -blue, partly cloudy, bright, large

Flowers- colorful, white, red, pink, yellow

Trees- tall, large leafy, green

Next, I must decide on the mood I wish to convey with my description since this will inform my choice of things to compare them to. Since it is a beautiful day I want to use nouns, verbs and adjectives that are more positive and bright.
Then I use think about other objects that may share some of those characteristics and see if I can come up with a good phrase.

The trees reach toward the sun , their limbs raised in prayerful thanks. ( implied metaphor)

The dogwoods are ballerinas in their tutus of fluffy white ( metaphor)

The road is a swift river. ( metaphor)

The sky, the bright banner of heaven. ( implied metaphor)

 

Try creating some original metaphors.

 

Using colors is an easy way to get started. Choose a favorite color and then think of things to compare it to.

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Blue is kindness.

Blue is serenity.

Blue is a soft blanket.

Blue comforts me with a gentle hug.

Blue is electricity.

Blue is an intense flame.

Blue is power.

Blue jolts me into action.

 

What can you come up with?

 

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