A chill murmurs through trees
still wearing summer frocks
stained with fruit and chestnut rust.
Early morning mist conceals a fox
on a mission to find rations.
Marsh harriers fuel up for migration,
fighter planes above the mere,
forming shadow vectors over fields
of brown-gold stubble and hedgerows
grey with old man’s beard.
Along the coast, the smell of frying
hangs with lines of linen drying.
Hurrying past, we feel the glare
of bed-and-breakfasts’ vacant stare.
Kim M. Russell, 2017
My response to dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar with Creative Metaphors
Björn is our host at the dVerse Poets Pub. He says that one of his favourite poetic tools is the metaphor. Today is all about metaphors: he wants us to avoid similes, clichés and idioms but, if we want to use them we should spice them up, for instance, by making them more exact or adding complexity to the image.
One example he has given is Pablo Neruda using a salt rose instead of a rose, and ‘arrow of carnations’ in his famous Sonnet XVII. Another example is Tomas Tranströmer in his poem After a Death, in which he uses many metaphors to describe mourning: a snowy TV-picture, the drop of water on a telephone line, and pages torn from old telephone directories – exact images to put us right into the mind of the poet.
He says that metaphors can also be used to describe people (or even pets). For example, Bob Hicok describes a girl whose ‘collarbones were the shadows of bears’ and a boy ‘whose eyes were lighthouses’ in his poem The Smiths as I understand them.
Often in poems with metaphors, the poet uses lots of them and they may contradict, but contradictions can add rather than detract from the imagery. If we prefer to riff on an extended metaphor, Björn won’t ostracize us but would prefer it if we focus on imagery.