". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

National Poetry Month, Day 7

One of the most effective ways to describe something is to compare it to something else. Not only do poets do this, but we do it in real life. Sometimes we state the comparison clearly by saying something is like something else. In that case, the comparison is called a simile. (We might use the word "like" or "as" or we might use a different word, but it's still a simile.) Other times we imply or suggest the comparison rather than state it. In that case, it's called a metaphor. See the example below. Both sentences compare a person's face to the sun (or some other light source), but the first one states the comparison while the second one only implies it.

Her face was shining like the sun. (simile)
Her face shone with joy. (metaphor)

Here's a short poem that is based completely on one metaphor. What two things are being compared?

Monet, The Houses of Parliament Series
(Effect of Fog)

"The Fog"
Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Notice that the poem never says that the fog is like a cat or similar to a cat. It says the fog is a cat.

We'll talk more about metaphors and similes tomorrow. Today, try to listen for both and write a few down. You may be surprised to hear we use them all the time!

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