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Best Famous Metaphor Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Metaphor poems. This is a select list of the best famous Metaphor poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Metaphor poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of metaphor poems.

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Famous poems below this ad
Written by Ogden Nash |

Very Like a Whale

 One thing that literature would be greatly the better for
Would be a more restricted employment by the authors of simile and
Authors of all races, be they Greeks, Romans, Teutons or Celts, Can't seem just to say that anything is the thing it is but have to go out of their way to say that it is like something else.
What does it mean when we are told That that Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold? In the first place, George Gordon Byron had enough experience To know that it probably wasn't just one Assyrian, it was a lot of Assyrians.
However, as too many arguments are apt to induce apoplexy and thus hinder longevity.
We'll let it pass as one Assyrian for the sake of brevity.
Now then, this particular Assyrian, the one whose cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold, Just what does the poet mean when he says he came down like a wold on the fold? In heaven and earth more than is dreamed of in our philosophy there are great many things.
But I don't imagine that among them there is a wolf with purple and gold cohorts or purple and gold anythings.
No, no, Lord Byron, before I'll believe that this Assyrian was actually like a wolf I must have some kind of proof; Did he run on all fours and did he have a hairy tail and a big red mouth and big white teeth and did he say Woof Woof? Frankly I think it is very unlikely, and all you were entitled to say, at the very most, Was that the Assyrian cohorts came down like a lot of Assyrian cohorts about to destroy the Hebrew host.
But that wasn't fancy enough for Lord Byron, oh dear me no, he had to invent a lot of figures of speech and then interpolate them, With the result that whenever you mention Old Testament soldiers to people they say Oh yes, they're the ones that a lot of wolves dressed up in gold and purple ate them.
That's the kind of thing that's being done all the time by poets, from Homer to Tennyson; They're always comparing ladies to lilies and veal to venison, And they always say things like that the snow is a white blanket after a winter storm.
Oh it is, is it, all right then, you sleep under a six-inch blanket of snow and I'll sleep under a half-inch blanket of unpoetical blanket material and we'll see which one keeps warm, And after that maybe you'll begin to comprehend dimly What I mean by too much metaphor and simile.

Written by Elizabeth Jennings |

In a Garden

 When the gardener has gone this garden
Looks wistful and seems waiting an event.
It is so spruce, a metaphor of Eden And even more so since the gardener went, Quietly godlike, but of course, he had Not made me promise anything and I Had no one tempting me to make the bad Choice.
Yet I still felt lost and wonder why.
Even the beech tree from next door which shares Its shadow with me, seemed a kind of threat.
Everything was too neat, and someone cares In the wrong way.
I need not have stood long Mocked by the smell of a mown lawn, and yet I did.
Sickness for Eden was so strong.

Written by David Lehman |

November 6

 Remember when Khrushchev said
"We will bury you!"
on the cover
of Time
I thought he was
employing a metaphor
as in "Braves Scalp Giants!"
on the back page
of the Daily News
I pictured the Russians
burying us under a mound
of all the rubble
that rubles could buy
when what he meant was
he had come not to praise Caesar
but to bury him

More great poems below...

Written by Margaret Atwood |


 My daughter plays on the floor
with plastic letters,
red, blue & hard yellow,
learning how to spell,
how to make spells.
* I wonder how many women denied themselves daughters, closed themselves in rooms, drew the curtains so they could mainline words.
* A child is not a poem, a poem is not a child.
There is no either / or.
* I return to the story of the woman caught in the war & in labour, her thighs tied together by the enemy so she could not give birth.
Ancestress: the burning witch, her mouth covered by leather to strangle words.
A word after a word after a word is power.
* At the point where language falls away from the hot bones, at the point where the rock breaks open and darkness flows out of it like blood, at the melting point of granite when the bones know they are hollow & the word splits & doubles & speaks the truth & the body itself becomes a mouth.
This is a metaphor.
* How do you learn to spell? Blood, sky & the sun, your own name first, your first naming, your first name, your first word.

Written by Robinson Jeffers |

The Great Explosion

 The universe expands and contracts like a great heart.
It is expanding, the farthest nebulae Rush with the speed of light into empty space.
It will contract, the immense navies of stars and galaxies, dust clouds and nebulae Are recalled home, they crush against each other in one harbor, they stick in one lump And then explode it, nothing can hold them down; there is no way to express that explosion; all that exists Roars into flame, the tortured fragments rush away from each other into all the sky, new universes Jewel the black breast of night; and far off the outer nebulae like charging spearmen again Invade emptiness.
No wonder we are so fascinated with fireworks And our huge bombs: it is a kind of homesickness perhaps for the howling fireblast that we were born from.
But the whole sum of the energies That made and contain the giant atom survives.
It will gather again and pile up, the power and the glory-- And no doubt it will burst again; diastole and systole: the whole universe beats like a heart.
Peace in our time was never one of God's promises; but back and forth, live and die, burn and be damned, The great heart beating, pumping into our arteries His terrible life.
He is beautiful beyond belief.
And we, God's apes--or tragic children--share in the beauty.
We see it above our torment, that's what life's for.
He is no God of love, no justice of a little city like Dante's Florence, no anthropoid God Making commandments,: this is the God who does not care and will never cease.
Look at the seas there Flashing against this rock in the darkness--look at the tide-stream stars--and the fall of nations--and dawn Wandering with wet white feet down the Caramel Valley to meet the sea.
These are real and we see their beauty.
The great explosion is probably only a metaphor--I know not --of faceless violence, the root of all things.

Written by Jorge Luis Borges |

We are the time. We are the famous

 We are the time.
We are the famous metaphor from Heraclitus the Obscure.
We are the water, not the hard diamond, the one that is lost, not the one that stands still.
We are the river and we are that greek that looks himself into the river.
His reflection changes into the waters of the changing mirror, into the crystal that changes like the fire.
We are the vain predetermined river, in his travel to his sea.
The shadows have surrounded him.
Everything said goodbye to us, everything goes away.
Memory does not stamp his own coin.
However, there is something that stays however, there is something that bemoans.

Written by Wallace Stevens |

Poem Written at Morning

A sunny day's complete Poussiniana
Divide it from itself.
It is this or that And it is not.
By metaphor you paint A thing.
Thus, the pineapple was a leather fruit, A fruit for pewter, thorned and palmed and blue, To be served by men of ice.
The senses paint By metaphor.
The juice was fragranter Than wettest cinnamon.
It was cribled pears Dripping a morning sap.
The truth must be That you do not see, you experience, you feel, That the buxom eye brings merely its element To the total thing, a shapeless giant forced Upward.
Green were the curls upon that head.

Written by Billy Collins |


 Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you, Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien, they seem to say, I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.
Other comments are more offhand, dismissive - "Nonsense.
" "Please!" "HA!!" - that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading, my thumb as a bookmark, trying to imagine what the person must look like why wrote "Don't be a ninny" alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.
Students are more modest needing to leave only their splayed footprints along the shore of the page.
One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's.
Another notes the presence of "Irony" fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.
Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers, Hands cupped around their mouths.
"Absolutely," they shout to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
" "Bull's-eye.
" "My man!" Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points rain down along the sidelines.
And if you have managed to graduate from college without ever having written "Man vs.
Nature" in a margin, perhaps now is the time to take one step forward.
We have all seized the white perimeter as our own and reached for a pen if only to show we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages; we pressed a thought into the wayside, planted an impression along the verge.
Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria jotted along the borders of the Gospels brief asides about the pains of copying, a bird signing near their window, or the sunlight that illuminated their page- anonymous men catching a ride into the future on a vessel more lasting than themselves.
And you have not read Joshua Reynolds, they say, until you have read him enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling.
Yet the one I think of most often, the one that dangles from me like a locket, was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye I borrowed from the local library one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then, reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room, and I cannot tell you how vastly my loneliness was deepened, how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed, when I found on one page A few greasy looking smears and next to them, written in soft pencil- by a beautiful girl, I could tell, whom I would never meet- "Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love.

Written by Anne Sexton |

The Touch

 For months my hand was sealed off
in a tin box.
Nothing was there but the subway railings.
Perhaps it is bruised, I thought, and that is why they have locked it up.
You could tell time by this, I thought, like a clock, by its five knuckles and the thin underground veins.
It lay there like an unconscious woman fed by tubes she knew not of.
The hand had collapse, a small wood pigeon that had gone into seclusion.
I turned it over and the palm was old, its lines traced like fine needlepoint and stitched up into fingers.
It was fat and soft and blind in places.
Nothing but vulnerable.
And all this is metaphor.
An ordinary hand -- just lonely for something to touch that touches back.
The dog won't do it.
Her tail wags in the swamp for a frog.
I'm no better than a case of dog food.
She owns her own hunger.
My sisters won't do it.
They live in school except for buttons and tears running down like lemonade.
My father won't do it.
He comes in the house and even at night he lives in a machine made by my mother and well oiled by his job, his job.
The trouble is that I'd let my gestures freeze.
The trouble was not in the kitchen or the tulips but only in my head, my head.
Then all this became history.
Your hand found mine.
Life rushed to my fingers like a blood clot.
Oh, my carpenter, the fingers are rebuilt.
They dance with yours.
They dance in the attic and in Vienna.
My hand is alive all over America.
Not even death will stop it, death shedding her blood.
Nothing will stop it, for this is the kingdom and the kingdom come.

Written by William Carlos (WCW) Williams |

A Sort Of A Song

 Let the snake wait under
his weed
and the writing
be of words, slow and quick, sharp
to strike, quiet to wait,
—through metaphor to reconcile the people and the stones.
(No ideas but in things) Invent! Saxifrage is my flower that splits the rocks.

Written by Delmore Schwartz |

The Poet

 The riches of the poet are equal to his poetry 
His power is his left hand
 It is idle weak and precious
His poverty is his wealth, a wealth which may destroy him
 like Midas Because it is that laziness which is a form of impatience 
And this he may be destroyed by the gold of the light
 which never was
On land or sea.
He may be drunken to death, draining the casks of excess That extreme form of success.
He may suffer Narcissus' destiny Unable to live except with the image which is infatuation Love, blind, adoring, overflowing Unable to respond to anything which does not bring love quickly or immediately.
The poet must be innocent and ignorant But he cannot be innocent since stupidity is not his strong point Therefore Cocteau said, "What would I not give To have the poems of my youth withdrawn from existence? I would give to Satan my immortal soul.
" This metaphor is wrong, for it is his immortal soul which he wished to redeem, Lifting it and sifting it, free and white, from the actuality of youth's banality, vulgarity, pomp and affectation of his early works of poetry.
So too in the same way a Famous American Poet When fame at last had come to him sought out the fifty copies of his first book of poems which had been privately printed by himself at his own expense.
He succeeded in securing 48 of the 50 copies, burned them And learned then how the last copies were extant, As the law of the land required, stashed away in the national capital, at the Library of Congress.
Therefore he went to Washington, therefore he took out the last two copies Placed them in his pocket, planned to depart Only to be halted and apprehended.
Since he was the author, Since they were his books and his property he was reproached But forgiven.
But the two copies were taken away from him Thus setting a national precedent.
For neither amnesty nor forgiveness is bestowed upon poets, poetry and poems, For William James, the lovable genius of Harvard spoke the terrifying truth: "Your friends may forget, God may forgive you, But the brain cells record your acts for the rest of eternity.
" What a terrifying thing to say! This is the endless doom, without remedy, of poetry.
This is also the joy everlasting of poetry.

Written by William Butler Yeats |

High Talk

 Processions that lack high stilts have nothing that
 catches the eye.
What if my great-granddad had a pair that were twenty foot high, And mine were but fifteen foot, no modern Stalks upon higher, Some rogue of the world stole them to patch up a fence or a fire.
Because piebald ponies, led bears, caged lions, ake but poor shows, Because children demand Daddy-long-legs upon This timber toes, Because women in the upper storeys demand a face at the pane, That patching old heels they may shriek, I take to chisel and plane.
Malachi Stilt-Jack am I, whatever I learned has run wild, From collar to collar, from stilt to stilt, from father to child.
All metaphor, Malachi, stilts and all.
A barnacle goose Far up in the stretches of night; night splits and the dawn breaks loose; I, through the terrible novelty of light, stalk on, stalk on; Those great sea-horses bare their teeth and laugh at the dawn.

Written by Adrienne Rich |

A Valediction Forbidding Mourning

 My swirling wants.
Your frozen lips.
The grammar turned and attacked me.
Themes, written under duress.
Emptiness of the notations.
They gave me a drug that slowed the healing of wounds.
I want you to see this before I leave: the experience of repetition as death the failure of criticism to locate the pain the poster in the bus that said: my bleeding is under control A red plant in a cemetary of plastic wreaths.
A last attempt: the language is a dialect called metaphor.
These images go unglossed: hair, glacier, flashlight.
When I think of a landscape I am thinking of a time.
When I talk of taking a trip I mean forever.
I could say: those mountains have a meaning but further than that I could not say.
To do something very common, in my own way.

Written by Craig Raine |

Nature Study

 (for Rona, Jeremy, Sam & Grace)

All the lizards are asleep--
perched pagodas with tiny triangular tiles,
each milky lid a steamed-up window.
Inside, the heart repeats itself like a sleepy gong, summoning nothing to nothing.
In winter time, the zoo reverts to metaphor, God's poetry of boredom: the cobra knits her Fair-Isle skin, rattlers titter over the same joke.
All of them endlessly finish spaghetti.
The python runs down like a spring, and time stops on some ancient Sabbath.
Pythagorean bees are shut inside the hive, which hymns and hums like Sunday chapel-- drowsy thoughts in a wrinkled brain.
The fire's gone out-- crocodiles lie like wet beams, cross-hatched by flames that no one can remember.
Grasshoppers shiver, chafe their limbs and try to keep warm, crouching on their marks perpetually.
The African cricket is trussed like a cold chicken: the sneeze of movement returns it to the same position, in the same body.
There is no change.
The rumple-headed lion has nowhere to go and snoozes in his grimy combinations.
A chaise lounge with missing castors, the walrus is stuck forever on his rock.
Sleepily, the seals play crib, scoring on their upper lips.
The chimps kill fleas and time, sewing nothing to nothing Five o'clock--perhaps.
Vultures in their shabby Sunday suits fidget with broken umbrellas, while the ape beats his breast and yodels out repentance.
Their feet are an awful dream of bunions-- but the buffalo's brazil nut bugle-horns can never sound reveille.

Written by Vernon Scannell |


 That one small boy with a face like pallid cheese 
And burnt-out little eyes could make a blaze 
As brazen, fierce and huge, as red and gold 
And zany yellow as the one that spoiled 
Three thousand guineas' worth of property 
And crops at Godwin's Farm on Saturday 
Is frightening---as fact and metaphor: 
An ordinary match intended for 
The lighting of a pipe or kitchen fire 
Misused may set a whole menagerie 
Of flame-fanged tigers roaring hungrily.
And frightening, too, that one small boy should set The sky on fire and choke the stars to heat Such skinny limbs and such a little heart Which would have been content with one warm kiss Had there been anyone to offer this.