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Spice up those metaphors!

He shuddered
Stopped short
Then he heard
Nike whispers

Nope! This isn’t a poem about sneakers or a mythical goddess but it does allude to the well-known commercial catch phrase “Just do it”. This is an example of “allusion”. The proper use of allusion can bring a significant depth of meaning to your metaphoric poetry.

You can use references from various areas: History, famous people, events, and, as the example above, pop culture. As long as your reference is well known for your target audience. If you write a gardening poem then alluding to “Miracle Gro” works perfectly. However, if you allude to “Quantum Theory” in a poem about a puppy, your metaphor falls flat on its proverbial face.

Writing.Com example:

Coffeehouse poets
Stubble and lattes
Steam hissing
Berets positioned jauntily
         Coffeehouse poets
Stubble and lattes
Steam hissing
Berets positioned jauntily
         Homage to Ezra Pound
         (Ferlinghetti was an imitator)
“Slam, slam, slam!”
never passes their lips
Nothing as undignified
as shouts for poetry.
Gentle whispers
Dramatic pauses
         (mustn’t rush)
More performer
than poet
Expounding on
weighty issues
Disdain celebrations of joy
Armchair Philosophizers
clutching their Beat books
filled with words of
outsiders and outlaw literaries
Searching for the meaning
Without a clue
         (can’t tell them that)
Speak of life
without having lived it.
Cushioned in the walls of
         Out of touch
Pause for a sip
of triple espresso
          (why bother?)
         No foam
         Hold the whipped cream
(think Burroughs paid $5 for coffee?)
Starving artists
          (biscotti on a napkin)
Reign supreme
          (stand on plastic chairs)
Share their wisdoms
          (lack experience)
Insights into humanity
          (never walked among the masses)
To rampant applause
          (misguided followers)
Know it all now
          (smug bastards)
Never learned a thing.
          (repeated by rote)
Imitators all.
          (can’t comprehend)
All the real poets are dead.


In the above example there are several allusions to Starbucks (as the description notes).

You’ve probably used allusions without realizing it so go and check your ports and identify examples in your own poetry. Once you recognize it, it is easier to create. Now create a perfect example and send it to racebuffy@Writing.Com or ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ and we will feature it in next week's edition… Have fun! :)

***NOTE: Be careful using trademark phrases in your writing. Certain legalities can hurt you... Stay tuned for an upcoming article on this sticky issue***

For more poetical type info click here: "A Poet's Tool Box

***Featured in the Mar 19, 2020 For Authors newsletter***

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