Using Metaphors When Writing Poetry: An Explanation & Guide

Poetry and Metaphors

If you have been handed the assignment of writing a poem and are not sure how to go about it, start by choosing a topic of interest. Use metaphors to add interest to your poem as well.

What Exactly Is a Metaphor?

Metaphors sound scary to some students. The definition for a metaphor is where two things are compared. They generally help understanding. The definition sounds simple enough; however, students get metaphors and similes confused. A simile also compares two things, but the words of like and as are used.

Metaphor examples:

  • Mary’s eyes were sapphire jewels.

This sounds so much better than Mary’s eyes were pretty. They were actually so pretty that they were at the same level as an expensive jewel.

  • The ball was a rocket hurling towards its target.

Again, this sounds better than saying that the ball was thrown fast. Rockets have an intended target and they move quickly and directly to the target.

Writing a Poem

You should now have a topic in mind and a general understanding of metaphors. First, you need to select a type of poem that you would like to write. There are many choices that have specific rules, such as Epigram, Pastoral Poem, Rhyme Royal, etc. You can choose one of those types of poems and follow the rules.

Or, you can write a free verse poem that really does not have any rules. Teachers generally like to see at least six lines, but don’t go over 20 lines.

Word Choice

And, remember, poetry is all about restraint and saying more with less. Be very choosey with your words. Each word selected should have impact or move the emotion, story or description forward.

Use favorite poems as an inspiration. Inspiring does not mean copying. You can, however, try to write in a similar style as your favorite poet.

Check It Again

Once the poem is complete, have a parent or trusted friend read your poem. Listen to what they have to say so that you can improve it. Remember, most good writers end up writing many, many drafts.

This post is part of the series: Poetry Help

When teachers assign you to write a poem, don’t worry. Try these tips and ideas from this series of lessons on poetry.
  1. Rhyming Poetry Help and Tips for Students
  2. Poetry Writing Help and Tips for Students: Use of Alliteration
  3. Poetry Help and Tips with Onomatopoeia
  4. Writing Poetry With Similes
  5. Poetry Help and Tips with Metaphors for Students