Poetry Metaphor Gate

In poetry, there are no metaphors. If a sentence mentions poetry and metaphor in the same breath, it is a moment of literary thinking, not of poetry. Poetry is present in objects despite any intention to write metaphor, not because of it.


View Towards Holar, the Heart of Christian Iceland

The light here is not a metaphor.

Similarly, all moments without metaphor are not poetry. There are no unbroken ladders of conception, or, to put it another way, all ladders of conception are unbroken. The world is made of things and forces, or, to put it another way, things and forces are made of the world. Poetry is one of those forces. Spirit is another. Often they are the same. Often they are different. Often they are not those forces at all. Human language is like this. Poetry and spirit are as well, when they inhabit it. That they inhabit it is not a question.


Mountain Across the Skaga Fjord from Holar

The blue of this mountain is not metaphor. It is, however a mood, that connects with both poetry and spirit.

In short, poetry is not a teachable moment. When anyone is teaching you about poetry, or about how to find poetry, even me, remember: it doesn’t need to be found. Poetry does not always inhabit words.

godafossGoðafoss, Iceland

When poetry is found, however, look for your self, if you wish. It will be there. It does not need to be found, either, but its finding can bring pathways that metaphor cannot follow.


Farm Gate, Mývatn, Iceland

The path is already yours. Whether you follow it or not, or write about it or not, does not change it. You are there.

2 thoughts on “Poetry Metaphor Gate

  1. It’s a complex argument you’re making. I”m balancing the various dimensions of each statement against the shape of the whole. I agree that literary thinking is not poetry. But I have seen entire poems that are metaphors. The specific poem I am thinking of delivers an almost zen-like inside-out moment of nature-realization. Without carrying the weight of revealing it is a poetic metaphor.

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