Metaphor Examples in Poetry

A metaphor is a literary figure of speech used to compare two unlike things and describes one as if it was like the other. In this article, metaphor examples in poetry have been vividly discussed.


It originated from the French word ‘metaphore,’ which means carrying over. It was first known to be used in the later 15th century. 


A literary figure of speech that is used to compare two unlike things and describes one as if it was like the other. It is also called an implied simile. In Metaphor, words like, alike, such as, and ‘as’ are not used. Mainly, it is challenging to find Metaphors in a sentence for the readers. It is sometimes called a sharp wit.

In ‘Metaphor’, the meaning is suggested by an image. It indicates the comparison of two things not usually thought of as similar. Writers use Metaphor when they have to show the resemblance between two subjects or about performing some function; one is, for the time being, actually identified with the other.

Types of Metaphor

There are two types of Metaphor.

i) Extended 

ii) Mixed 

Extended :

The use of metaphors in extended form in writing is called extended Metaphor. Sometimes writers use Metaphor over an entire poem or any other piece of paper.


The combination of two metaphors, that are not normally implied together.

Examples of Metaphors:

  1. My father is an iron man.
  2. Camel is the ship of the desert.
  3. John is the star of his family.
  4. Maria has a heart of kindness.
  5. Life is a bed of thrones.
  6. My son is a moon.
  7. She is a Peacock.
  8. The thunder was a mighty lion.
  9. His voice created a harmful effect on the listeners.
  10. The lion is the King of the forest.

Metaphor Examples in Poetry:

Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare

The barge she sat in,
like a burnish’d throne Burn’d on the water

Here in the above lines, the use of a metaphor as ‘the barge burn’d on the water’ has been made.

Fog by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes in little cat feet
It sits looking,
over harbor and city,
on silent haunches,
and then moves on”

In the above line, ‘Sandburg’ is feeling the fog and is comparing it with the little cat’s feet, as when the cat comes, the sound is minimal. Similarly, the fog has come like a little cat’s feet.

Daffodils by Wordsworth

When all at once I saw a crowd”

Here ‘Wordsworth” compares the daffodils with the crowd of people without using the connecting words like or as.

“As you like it” by (William Shakespeare)

“All the worlds a stage”

Here the ‘Shakespeare’ compared this world with a stage by considering the human being as actors of stage.

Sonnet 116 by Shakespeare

Love is the star to every wandering bark,
he wants to associate with love:
Its constancy and secure fixedness in a world of change and danger.”

The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy

And Winters dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day”

Here the writer means us to understand that (the weakening eye of day), i.e., the sun has been made monotonous by the dull winter light and the cold weather.

Mutability by P.B. Shelly

“The flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow dies.
All that we wish to stay,
Tempt’s and then flies.
What is this world’s delight?
Lightning that mock’s the night
brief even as bright.

‘Shelly’ in the beginning line of the poem makes us understand that he compares the present with the future. All the living things in this world are for a short period and will come to their end, which is this poem’s central theme.

Solitary Reaper by Wordsworth

The vale profound is overflowing with the sound.

Here the depth of the song of a woman has been categorized. Her voice has turned into liquid and has overfilled the whole valley with her enchanting voice.

Hamlet by Shakespeare

No, let the candied tongue’ lick absurd pomp,
And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee
Where thrift may follow fawning”

Here ‘Shakespeare’ has used the mixed metaphor by considering ‘hinges’ of the knee as ‘pregnant’ because flattery has successfully gained advancement.

Literary Works

Metaphor is a familiar figure of speech that one scarcely realize when using it. Words that we use have both literal and metaphorical meanings. Writers of different genres have used them in their writings to create a profound impact.

The literature is massive on this work. T. Hawkes, Metaphor oriented toward literary approaches is a helpful starting point. Alongside Paul Ricoeur’s ‘The Rule of Metaphor’: The Creation of Meaning in Language, the books by Richards and by Black cited above are classics, each generating a sizeable secondary literature.

The articles in Ortony, which has an extensive bibliography, are views from Anglo-American linguistics, philosophy, and psychology; Black and Searle’s papers are cited above. Similarly, A Grammar of Metaphor is a valuable work on the syntax of metaphorical expressions in literature. A helpful primer is Zoltan Kovecses, Metaphor: A Practical Introduction.

Difference between Metaphor & Simile

The two literary terms are closely associated but have different functions—both the academic terms are used for comparison. Here the examples will show the difference between these two terms.

‘Simile compares two things indirectly using the words ‘like’ and ‘as.’ It is also used to show the quality of something by indirectly comparing one thing to other.


‘Metaphor’ is a literary device that is used to compare the two things directly, and connecting words are not used in it. For example, ‘He is a night owl’ and “She is a shining Star.’

Further Reading

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