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Emotion in Poetry: Analogy

by Vivian Gilbert Zabel

According to Prentice Hall's Writer's Companion, "an analogy is an extended comparison in which one thing, usually more familiar, is compared to something less familiar. A striking analogy can make a commonplace subject come alive with new meaning."

Therefore, if I compare a school with a hill of ants, I've created an analogy, if I make the comparison long enough.

However, we shouldn't confuse analogy with metaphor or simile. An analogy is an extended comparison, not one of just two or a few more words. In poetry, an analogy is often the complete poem. Some people consider an analogy an extended metaphor.

Let's examine a poem by Amy Lowell which uses the analogy of mares with night clouds. By describing the imagery of mares, she creates the word picture of clouds on a moon lit night.

Night Clouds
by Amy Lowell

The white mares of the moon rush along the sky
Beating their golden hoofs upon the glass Heavens;
The white mares of the moon are all standing on their hind legs
Pawing at the green porcelain doors of trhe remote Heaves.
Fly, Mares!
Strain your utmost.
Scatter the milky dust of stars,
Or the tiger sun will leap upon you and destroy you
With one lick of his vermillion tongue.

(from Prentice Hall's Literature Platinum)

Also note the comparison of the sun with a tiger.

A few of my poems are analogies. I would like to share at least two with you:

Dreary Day

The dreary day outside is gray
Without even a hint of sun.
Clouds drag where our dreams once lay,
Trying to destroy everyone's fun.

Without even a hint of sun,
No rainbow can grace the sky.
Trying to destroy everyone's fun,
The storm drives laughter awry.

No rainbow can grace the sky
With drab rain falling, never done.
The storm drives laughter awry
Before the tears have begun.
With drab rain falling, never done,
Clouds drag where our dreams once lay
Before the tears have begun.
The dreary day outside is gray.
(copyright 2005 by Vivian Gilbert Zabel)

“Dreary Day” compares the dreary day to sorrow. Tears are rain; grayness and lack of sunshine equals missing joy.

Day's Journey

The day dawns as a journey.
One leaves the station on a train,
Rushing past other places
Without a pause or stop,
Watching faces blur as they pass,
No time to say goodbye.
On and on the train does speed
Until the line's end one sees,
Another sunset down
Without any lasting memories.
(copyright 2005 by Vivian Gilbert Zabel)

“Day’s Journey” lets us view life as a train ride, one day's travel at a time.

Hopefully you will now be able to use analogy in your poetry, as an aid in enhancing emotion, or as a way to increase imagery.

Vivian Gilbert Zabel taught English, composition, and creative writing for twenty-five years, honing her skills as she studied and taught. She is a author on Writers (http://www.Writing.Com/), and her portfolio is http://www.Writing.Com/authors/vzabel. Her books, Hidden Lies and Other Stories and Walking the Earth, can be found through Barnes and Noble or

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