Monday, March 26, 2007

March 26: Metaphors for Life Day

Today is the birthday of American poet Robert Frost (1874-1963). Although he enrolled in college, Frost never earned a degree. He worked as a teacher, a cobbler, and an editor. Of course he is best known for his work as a poet, and, next to Shakespeare, he might just be the most quoted and anthologized poet of all time.

For more on the life of Frost, visit The Academy of American Poets at

Like all great poets, Frost explores the universal themes of humanity in his poems. For example, in The Road Not Taken he uses the metaphor of the road to explore the theme of choices made over a lifetime:


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, andI--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
--Robert Frost

Today's Challenge -- Life is But a Dream:
In celebration of Frost's life, WLA challenges you to write your own metaphor for life. You can write your metaphor as a poem or write it in complete sentences. The key to a successful metaphor is to show a connection between two words that we normally don't associate with each other. For example, you might compare life to a game, a battle, a classroom, a banana, a building, a race, a book, a fire, an alphabet, or even a lunch box.

Here are two simple steps for writing a metaphor from the best book on poetry writing I know: Writing Poetry by Shelley Tucker (Goodyear Books 1992) :

How to Write a Metaphor

Definition: A metaphor is a comparison between to unrelated nouns.

Step 1. Write out your two unrelated nouns: Example: Life is a song.

Step 2: Expand and elaborate on your metaphor by asking yourself Who? What? When? Where? Why? or How?


Life is a song with a consistant melody, but constantly changing lyrics.

Life is a punk rock song -- sung acappella.

Life is a song that you write yourself but that you sing with others.

Quote of the Day: The game of life is not so much in holding a good hand as playing a poor hand well. --H.T. Leslie

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