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Poem & Epistle: understanding the metaphor’s use (1 Viewer)

RHPeat

Met3 Group Leader
Staff member
Senior Mentor
The Metaphor

Much is won or lost with one’s skill
and cunning with the blade; if the steel
is to make its fatal mark and bend
a contender to his humbled knees.

The metal should be a well known piece
from the gripped handle to the point
with a knowledge of it’s double edge;
a sharpness that cuts either way to the heart.

One’s offensive and defensive moves
are everything in this close disparity;
Thrust and parry must be well engaged,
understood in this fixed art of conflict.

The weapon can only be as deadly
as the user is trained and accomplished
in his decisive actions toward the moment;
a life is drawn within the balance here.

© RH Peat 8/11/09 9:19am
Opposing sides of the metaphor:
As well as the reader and the poet.
____________________________________

Epistle: understanding the metaphor’s use

Our language each day is loaded with comparisons. Metaphors and similes are everywhere. We couldn't exist without them. Poetry just heightens the metaphoric principles of language through the use of figurative language. For metaphors are like stuffing Pandora's box every day within a poem with each reading of the poem. They contain far more than what they say about what's visible. Their textures and sound also add to the poem’s clarity.

I asked all my students once to submit to me what they thought
…………………..[/FONT] 'the child is father to the man'
means to them, from Wordsworth's Rainbow poem; everyone had a different answer. That's the point. Poetry is subconscious and suggestive but precise at the same time. They were all correct in their assumptions, but their assumptions were taken to very different levels of understanding. Everyone approaches the poem from their own spiritual awareness of the universe, their personal space.

That's why it is said that poetry shows and doesn't tell. But even beyond that it is existence in the breathing moment. That’s why it is inclusive and not exclusive as well. The intent in metaphor is like the tip of the iceberg. It is 10 percent above the level of perception and 90 percent below the level of perception. This is what creates the poetic epiphany within another: personal revelation inside the reader. That's what poets should be after. Not just telling a story. But having the story-line reveal, deliver the epiphany to the reader. Poetry is the celebration of life and death in a single breath. Poems are about our humanity.

If you define, describe or tell the meaning of the poem you kill the epiphany for the reader. The written no longer contains any humanity. But if the reader gets their epiphany they are a part of the poem forever. Then the reader is changed to the poet's point in hand; they have become a part of the poet’s poem. This is humanity; it shares the human experience of being within the moment that is the poem itself.

This is the skill of writing. Bring the readers to you; deliver their hearts to you; not to sermonize them into rebellion. The poem has to be a gentle nudge or tug upon their heart strings even if it is rebellious by nature, like an anti-war poem: like "Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owens. It kicks ass, but at the same time it tears into your heart to realize that the man is fighting and looking into the eyes of the dying each day. It is a powerhouse of a poem that will haunt you the rest of your life after reading it. It speaks of the times and the future as well. It makes you see the horrible side of man staring back at you on the other side of your mirror. The epiphany of that poem engraves the flesh of your heart. And it makes you see you could be there as well. It is a human, being human within all the complexities of being human.

But at the same time so is Wordsworth's "A Host Of Golden Daffodils." or Bryant's "The Wayfarer" This is what makes poetry timeless in it's nature, Like Rilke's “Panther” in the zoo in Paris. The poem chases after you even when the book is set down. It gnaws on the rag bones of your heart, as Yeats would say.

The poem swallows you and makes you a part of its very life. You the reader become part of the poem. And vis versa. The poem is part of you as well each day forward. Like Neruda's Ode to a Child's toes. You just can't think about a child or it's toes the same again. You're changed; the mundane has been lifted to the status of revelation by the imprinting of your eyes with the vision of poet’s eyes. Learning to use language is what it is all about.

HOW TO SAY IT WITHOUT SAYING IT. HOW TO UPLIFT WITHOUT THE READER KNOWING THEY ARE BEING UPLIFTED. THAT NUDGE OF THE HEART TOWARD ITS OWN REALITY OF PRESENCE FOR WHAT IT CAN UNDERSTAND.

This is why maintaining a conscious level in the poem is important as well as understanding that the poem has many levels of awareness at the same time. That the writer writes for all levels of understanding at the same time from the simple story line to all the depths of the metaphor. They are all interconnected in the end. They are all corralled within the poem in a way throughout the overall poem. And it is left up to the reader to seek out their own level of perception for their personal epiphany.

But the writer needs to be aware enough to show that these levels of understanding all exist. He should NOT expect the reader to get all the depths of understanding in one reading. A poem needs to be read over and over again to reach it's submerged realities of greater concern. So just enough of the intent for epiphany has to lead the reader to the water hole. But it has to be left to them to drink or not. That's why some will grab a poem and run with it; while others will stumble over it at every turn within the poem.

If too many are stumbling there is a problem with the poem. If too many are forgetting it after reading the poem, there is a problem with the poem. You want the poem to be revisited. You have to write the poem in a manner that allows it to be revisited. Metaphors help this very process.

A poet friend
RH Peat

Addendum:
There is a certain kind of metaphor that can ruin a good poem. It's the "of" metaphor. Statement below:

RHPeat said:
[FONT=&quot]


My objection isn't the word "of" at all; it is the use of the word as a device between the two sides of a metaphor, or figurative usage: that would be the tenor as the term for the principal subject and vehicle for the term for the secondary subject of the metaphor, sometimes the tenor is implied rather than expressed. Example "that cur is a disgrace to the party." Implied — "Man" as the "cur". that's actually a bit of metonymy. Metonymy: (the substitution of the name of an attribute or adjunct for that of the thing meant, for example: suit for business executive, or the track for horse racing.)

"Of"! Has its ridiculous presentation after you have seen a few hundred by beginners that want to chain them together one after another. More Specific Information about the "of" metaphor below with real options when it comes to changing the metaphorical construction. Do realize that many times when "of" is used it means "from" or "about" which offers the reader far more to understand when it comes to the meaning in the depth of the complete poem.

How do we get rid of the thing that is offensive when the (of-the-of) springs up. A good question. First let me say this -- there is nothing wrong with using the word (of) in a poem. That is not what I am saying here. But when half the poem and much of the poem's metaphorical devices are made from the (of) situation within many of the lines, you need to add some more exciting tricks to your bag of possibilities; which means become more creative. OK Cowboy; if you see what I mean put your holster on and draw your gun. So what do we do with the (of)--how do we get rid of its ugly bandido stinking watch's face. Lock it up partner. There are a number gathered here as — simple ways, listed below.

1. there are many other prepositions, that (of) is generally used for. Why not use the more explicit prepositions. For a simple starter, things like -- with, at, in, within, into, onto, without, inside, outside, upon, on, over, under, around, up, down, sideways, etc--there are a lot of prepositions out there. Let us find one that will give the line more depth of meaning, or be more explicit in its meaning.

2. Many times a verb can be used. This is the strongest; if you ask me. Good poetry always has active verbs. You have to change the (of) into a (verb) with your overall poem in mind. Sometimes these verbs can add a real depth to your poem's action. Good action words will make a poem exciting. But you can just make the basic metaphor or simile by just putting "Like" or "is" between the two nouns in the metaphor. It may be simple but is far better than the preposition because it is active.

3. Sometimes a reversal before the preposition in the line will take care of the (of). [This is different than a verb reversal by the way which I dislike to no end, which is archaic and should not be used in modern poetry except under special circumstances; or by the use of an adjective.

4. the possessive ('s) or apostrophe ('s). Causing personification in the metaphor at times.
(the genitive case)

5. Simply remove the (of), and replace it with punctuation-- a comma, a semicolon, or a colon — as a starter.

6. Making the two words into a compound word: “sky of flames” can become “sky-flames.” compounding the image of the two nouns as figurative.

7. At times you can use one side of the metaphor to modify the other side as well So the tenor or the vehicle can be made into a modifier of the other by reversing them or making a gerund out of the other by adding "ing." It is far stronger than filling up the lines with weak "of" metaphors.

8. Write the tenor and vehicle on separate lines in parallel construction with contrasting verbs and create an antithesis that has some solid punch to it inside the poem's deeper thought. It's another figurative device that doesn't need the word "of"; as part as the device's construction.

I am not telling you not to use the word (of) within any poem. I just want you to know what your options are and how to overcome it. So you have a wider choice of things to do when I say "watch the (of-the-of) metaphors lining up back to back. Besides think about it for a minute and think how much more interesting and creative your poem would be to read; if many of these other devices were used instead of the word (of) within your lines. My point — do not become reliant upon the word (of); always question yourself when you do use it; and know the reason why you are using it.

OK? Make it have a special case to use it. In metric verses it can be over used to become a crutch for the unaccented syllable. Don't fall into the "of" traps. My absurd feelings are that it takes more brains to string a yoyo than to write an "of" metaphor. That's my comical look at the word when used as a figurative device for deeper thought in the poem, for the most part; and do realize, I do use the word now and then.

a poet friend
RH Peat
 
Last edited:

Robbie

Financial Supporter
The poem says it all, the entire poem but this stanza will stick with me for a long time. Met 3 is where we train and learn
and accomplish.

[FONT=.SF UI Text][FONT=.SFUIText]The weapon can only be as deadly [/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=.SF UI Text][FONT=.SFUIText]as the user is trained and accomplished[/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=.SF UI Text][FONT=.SFUIText]in his decisive actions toward the moment; [/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=.SF UI Text][FONT=.SFUIText]a life is drawn within the balance here.[/FONT][/FONT]
 

RHPeat

Met3 Group Leader
Staff member
Senior Mentor
The poem says it all, the entire poem but this stanza will stick with me for a long time. Met 3 is where we train and learn
and accomplish.

[FONT=.SF UI Text][FONT=.SFUIText]The weapon can only be as deadly [/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=.SF UI Text][FONT=.SFUIText]as the user is trained and accomplished[/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=.SF UI Text][FONT=.SFUIText]in his decisive actions toward the moment; [/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=.SF UI Text][FONT=.SFUIText]a life is drawn within the balance here.[/FONT][/FONT]

Robbie
I would definitely hope so. I do think that we try to touch this part of each outer within our workshop forum. It is part of the reason why the forum is very open to allow anything to be said. "Where there's life there is danger". How can you love the craft without being able to make yourself vulnerable at the same time. Our few rules are our only saving grace. They are there only to state purpose and intent while maintaining order on a communal level. To treat each other with respect. When you are able to speak about this openly you make me realize that we have it all together in the workshop. Thanx for stating this; you don't know how much it truly means to me.

a poet friend
RH Peat
 
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RHPeat

Met3 Group Leader
Staff member
Senior Mentor
This is what I still struggle with.

Carole

This is wonderful to hear from you. I've been in your struggle for quite some time now with a quantity of critiques. And I have to say with your statement here comes great honors. For seeing the flaw allows it to change. I now have great expectations on reading the next poem. Love ya always. Planning on being harder than hell on you in the future.

:hell_pawn:

The dark and sinister poet friend
RH Peat
 

PiP

Staff member
Co-Owner
If you define, describe or tell the meaning of the poem you kill the epiphany for the reader.

Carole

This is wonderful to hear from you. I've been in your struggle for quite some time now with a quantity of critiques. And I have to say with your statement here comes great honors. For seeing the flaw allows it to change. I now have great expectations on reading the next poem. Love ya always. Planning on being harder than hell on you in the future.

:hell_pawn:

The dark and sinister poet friend
RH Peat

OMG... I am doomed! :hororr::sylvestertweety:



Everyone approaches the poem from their own spiritual awareness of the universe, their personal space.

That's why it is said that poetry shows and doesn't tell. But even beyond that it is existence in the breathing moment. That’s why it is inclusive and not exclusive as well. The intent in metaphor is like the tip of the iceberg. It is 10 percent above the level of perception and 90 percent below the level of perception. This is what creates the poetic epiphany within another: personal revelation inside the reader. That's what poets should be after. Not just telling a story. But having the story line reveals, delivers the epiphany to the reader. Poetry is the celebration of life and death in a single breath. Poems are about our humanity.

If you define, describe or tell the meaning of the poem you kill the epiphany for the reader. The written no longer contains any humanity. But if the reader gets their epiphany they are a part of the poem forever. Then the reader is changed to the poet's point in hand; they have become a part of the poet’s poem. This is humanity; it shares the human experience of being within the moment that is the poem itself.

So true! I wonder if you post a poem and invite 10 people (not necessarily poets) for the meaning behind the words how much their interpretations vary and how close they are to the original intent.
 

Firemajic

Poetry Mentor
Staff member
Senior Mentor
The Metaphor

Much is won or lost with one’s skill
and cunning with the blade; if the steel
is to make its fatal mark and bend
a contender to his humbled knees.

The metal should be a well known piece
from the gripped handle to the point
with a knowledge of it’s double edge;
a sharpness that cuts either way to the heart.

One’s offensive and defensive moves
are everything in this close disparity;
Thrust and parry must be well engaged,
understood in this fixed art of conflict.

The weapon can only be as deadly
as the user is trained and accomplished
in his decisive actions toward the moment;
a life is drawn within the balance here.

© RH Peat 8/11/09 9:19am
Opposing sides of the metaphor:
As well as the reader and the poet.
____________________________________

Epistle: understanding the metaphor’s use


That's why it is said that poetry shows and doesn't tell. But even beyond that it is existence in the breathing moment. That’s why it is inclusive and not exclusive as well.** The intent in metaphor is like the tip of the iceberg. It is 10 percent above the level of perception and 90 percent below the level of perception.*** This is what creates the poetic epiphany within another: personal revelation inside the reader. That's what poets should be after. Not just telling a story. But having the story line reveals, delivers the epiphany to the reader. Poetry is the celebration of life and death in a single breath.****** Poems are about our humanity.********

***If you define, describe or tell the meaning of the poem you kill the epiphany for the reader. ****this seems like a delicate balancing act...this takes wisdom to know when to hold 'em and when to give it away....

This is the skill of writing. Bring the readers to you; deliver their hearts to you; not to sermonize them into rebellion. The poem has to be a gentle nudge or&&& tug upon their heart strings even if it is rebellious by nature, like an anti-war poem: like "Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owens. It kicks ass, but at the same time it tears into your heart to realize that the man is fighting and looking into the eyes of the dying each day. It is a powerhouse of a poem that will haunt you the rest of your life after reading it. It speaks of the times and the future as well. It makes you see the horrible side of man staring back at you on the other side of your mirror. The epiphany of that poem engraves the flesh of your heart. And it makes you see you could be there as well. It is a human, being human within all the complexities of being human. &&& THIS... this is why poetry is my passion...

But at the same time so is Wordsworth's "A Host Of Golden Daffodils." or Bryant's "The Wayfarer" This is what makes poetry timeless in it's nature, Like Rilke's “Panther” in the zoo in Paris. !!!The poem chases after you even when the book is set down. It gnaws on the rag bones of your heart,!!!!!! Love that... why bother if this is not achieved... as Yeats would say.

**The poem swallows you and makes you a part of its very life.** You the reader become part of the poem. And vis versa. The poem is part of you as well each day forward. Like Neruda's Ode to a Child's toes. You just can't think about a child or it's toes the same again. You're changed; the mundane has been lifted to the status of revelation by the imprinting of your eyes with the vision of poet’s eyes. Learning to use language is what it is all about. This sounds so daunting, and unattainable ... it makes me excited to try, I can see the vision of how one could express emotions...but also makes me sad when I realize how far I have to go and how much I need to learn... thank you so much, you have given me a LOT to think about... hell, I may never write again..hahaaa.... ;)



A poet friend
RH Peat

 

RHPeat

Met3 Group Leader
Staff member
Senior Mentor
FireMajic

Oh my Gosh. That's not the point at all.
Don't give up writing. This was written to make you want to write more and better. Besides you have more broomsticks to burn in wildfires and back drafts. Take your own match to the fireplace girl. You got what it takes. I've critiqued a few of your poems and I see the duende in the torchlight singeing my eyebrows. I've read your poems where you carved flesh off my bones. You know how to empower words. If I were to say something specific to you it would be, "Don't over do it!" Leave more to the reader to experience internally. instigate it and set them free with flames in their shorts. Because you know how to grab them and pull them into the experience already. Maintain them there inside themselves. If your readers became enticed fish you'd have string of them every day for the table. You can count on that.

You have a powerful personal voice. You can make emotion very personal as well. But it can easily go over the top when you do that in a single poem.

Believe it or not I've suffered the same thing in poems. A good rewrite can make a huge difference for me. Because it is easy for me to go overboard with the amount of information in the poem. It's always been that way because I am very imaginative.

Just a few days ago I took a poem from 1995 and just cut it back all the way through the poem where I was over writing the lines and it really improved the poem. I'd distanced myself from the poem over all those years. PiP gave me a great critique on the poem as well. I think I added a line to the poem because of her. And Robbie a very insightful reader gave me a fantastic review about the intent in the poem and nailed it.

a poet friend
RH Peat
 

RHPeat

Met3 Group Leader
Staff member
Senior Mentor
Carole

Don't worry
in doom and gloom, too much; Tweety Pie always gets away from Sylvester. Then Sylvester hangs a stupid face on himself and stares blankly into the camera.

a poet friend
RH Peat
 
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Pulse

Staff member
Senior Mentor
Ron,

Your image of a 'water hole' reminds me of Sigmund Freud's comment; he is reported to have claimed ‘the poets and philosophers before me discovered the unconscious; what I discovered was the scientific method by which the unconscious can be studied’.[1] Freud went on, admiringly, to create his own metaphor: ‘Poets are masters of us ordinary men, in knowledge of the mind, because they drink at streams which we have not yet made accessible to science’.[2] A thought process is required to convert feeling into poetry and the refreshment can be shared.

If a reader needs to read the poem more than once, the writer has to make the poem interesting or attractive enough to encourage rereading.


[1] Lehrman, Philip R. in 'Freud's Contributions to Science', in the journal 'Harofe Haivri' Vol.1, 1940. < http://www.freud.org.uk/about/faq/> consulted 18.05.2011.

[2] Trilling, Lionel, ‘Freud and Literature’, 1940 <http://www.rlwclarke.net/Courses/LITS3303/2008-2009/07BTrillingFreudandLiterature.pdf> consulted 18.05.2011.
 

midnightpoet

WF Veterans
I do find it difficult creating that delicate balance that shows enough clarity that makes the reader think (even if it's misinterpreted) and being so obscure that the reader fails to care. I have read poetry here and elsewhere - many published - that seemed to say I've got a secret and you'll play heck figuring it out. Many poems and novels have been lauded by professional critics for deep meanings the piece didn't even have. Despite the difficulties I poet on, with each poem I learn more and more about the craft as I attempt to make art.
 
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