Having said that metaphor is an absolutely everyday phenomenon, a conceptual and linguistic tool that we all use all the time (compare here), we are now faced with the question of what is special about metaphor in literary language, and in particular, in poetry. Compare the following examples of the LIFE IS A JOURNEY conceptual metaphor. Sentences 1-7 sound unremarkable and "unpoetic", while sentences 8-9 definitely sound dramatic and imaginative.
- He had a head start in life.
- Look how far we've come.
- We're at a crossroads.
- We can't turn back now.
- He strayed from the path.
- He's gone off in the wrong direction.
- I'm lost.
- Stop the world. I want to get off.
- Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
(Robert Frost “The Road Not Taken”)
|LIFE IS A JOURNEY: Stop the world I want to get off! (phot. Andy Marshall)|