Metaphor Examples

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No copyright protection is asserted by the owner of this blog, Alan Carl Nicoll

“Some miles beyond the Tallises’ land rose the Surrey Hills and their motionless crowds of thick crested oaks, their greens softened by a milky heat haze. Then, nearer, the estate’s open parkland, which today had a dry and savage look, roasting like a savanna, where isolated trees threw harsh stumpy shadows and the long grass was already stalked by the leonine yellow of high summer.” Ian McEwen

“Arthritic mesquite trees grew out of impossible crevices in the cliffs, looking as if they could adapt to life on Mars if need be.” Barbara Kingsolver

Commenting on the subject matter of another author’s poems: “Pretending to look at something on the other side of the room, she allows her readers to look up the skirt of her intemperate and meretricious lifestyle.” Giles Harvey

“Nothing so stultifies and asphyxiates the imagination as a regular diet of undergraduate verse, that congealed and tepid slurry of solecism, opacity, and self-indulgence, which I was force-fed in large grim spoonfuls on a biweekly basis.” Giles Harvey

“The road ran about like a wild thing…” Willa Cather

“I read one or two shallow books of travel in the intervals of my work, till that employment made me ashamed of myself, and I asked myself where it was then that I lived.” Henry Thoreau

“We’re at the kitchen table under a milk spill of light from the bare bulb.” Mary O’Donoghue

“Maybe it’s the stubby pencil, but his letters are a stampede, then a chaotic collision at the bottom of the piece of paper where he ran out of space.” Mary O’Donoghue

“Along the Mississippi River, scattered in weedy stretches devoid of factory silos and warehouses, stood small brick sheds marinated in oily engine exhaust.” Ben Miller

“They had sat in the rose garden, in the pale sunshine, a police siren tumescing and detumescing in the background… a tree was leafing through itself anxiously.” Adam Thirlwell

“A black February day. Clouds hewn of ponderous timber weighing down on the earth; an irresolute dropping of snow specks upon the trampled wastes. Gloom but no veiling of angularity. The lines of roofs and sidewalks sharp and inescapable.” Sinclair Lewis

“The age of houses, like the age of men, has small relation to their years. The dull-green cottage of the good Widow Bogart was twenty years old, but it had the antiquity of Cheops, and the smell of mummy-dust. Its neatness rebuked the street.” Sinclair Lewis

“To her he was a superb, boyish, diverting creature; all the heroic qualities in a manly magnificent body.” Sinclair Lewis

Carol contemplating a love affair: “Then, in a very great desire of rebellion and unleashing of all her hatreds, ‘the pettier and more tawdry it is, the more blame to Main Street. It shows how much I’ve been longing to escape. Any way out! Any humility so long as I can flee. Main Street has done this to me. I came here eager for nobilities, ready for work, and now—any way out.’” Sinclair Lewis

“… with a Taoistic touch, beautiful and talented girls suffering a harsh fate are regarded as ‘fallen fairies,’ punished for having mortal thoughts or some neglect of duty in heaven and sent down to this earth to live through a predestined fate of moral sufferings.” Lin Yutang

“A thin layer of trust had formed in my mind, like a scab.” Augusten Burroughs

“Such a black, shrill city, combining the qualities of a smoky house and a scolding wife…” Charles Dickens describing London

“Who knows what this urge is all about, to appear somewhere outside yourself, instead of feeling stuck inside your muddled but stroboscopic mind, peering out like a little undersea animal—a spiny blenny, for instance—from inside your tiny cave?” Anne Lamott

“He gave her a look you could have poured on a waffle.” Ring Lardner

5 thoughts on “Metaphor Examples

  1. I loved this! Reminded me of “The Marshes of Glynn” by Sidney Lanier, the way it all made my mind ‘feel.’ The evocation of visual images through such illustrative vocabulary and syntax in your selected passages above and the resultant pleasure of the strength of the experience, that’s how that poem makes me feel throughout.


  2. Brian, thanks very much for your comment–a rare experience here!
    I’ll take the liberty of drawing your attention to a couple of other items:

    “Dobyns on Metaphor” is a collection of cool metaphors with my commentary and other stuff:

    Dobyns on Metaphor, and Henry James. Prison Diary Extract

    My most recent poems, and likely my last, are here:

    Recent Poems

    I’ll provide links to my other poetry, if you just can’t get enough.



  3. wow you guys ae great am about to write a crime story taking place in Appakachia – am isolated here in Germany could use contact with people who think and who are creative and can give a feedback


  4. you joke – sure I can enough but here in a Neandertal I am on constant retreat – once on the rocks – now enjoying each moment of life – I am neither a narcist nor an autist and can think clearly but could use a human who can think – I am not a wet blanket and give more than I take see my poetry – not all in English and “the Value of Human Life ” will be out on Jul 22nd – Andrew, a Roboter, got tangled up with Pandora – the book is a kick in the …
    wow – cannot say the word – so my education and upbringing – one big joke: make a comedy out of a tragedy!!


  5. Ms. Howard, thank you for your comments–a rare thing on my blog. I can indeed think, but seldom take the trouble to do so. I am curious what use of me you might want to make.

    Your English is vastly better than my German. My mother was born in Kiel, came to the US when she was five.
    I visited your blog but didn’t get off the Home page. I’ll take another look later today, I am pressed for time this morning.

    If you choose to respond to this, or otherwise just want to talk, I’d suggest we keep it private, that is, you can email me at:

    Hope to hear from you soon. Skype or some other platform would also be possible…



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