How to Write a Simile & Metaphor Poem

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What are Similes and Metaphors?

Similes​ and ​metaphors​ are two of the most powerful tools in the writer's toolkit when it comes to imagery and describing things. Both create images by comparing two unconnected things.

  • Similes​ describe something as being like something else (examples include using "like" or "as")
  • Metaphors​ describe something as if it is something else as a comparison or symbol (examples include using "is")

Naturally, they are used a lot in poetry, where the writer has limited words to get his message, or vision, across.

​**Metaphors** ​and ​**similes** ​can be used to describe things that would otherwise be difficult to picture:

such as feelings and emotions, or simply to put a fresh spin on familiar things

1. Decide On the Subject of Your Poem

This is probably the most difficult step if you don't already have a clear idea because the possibilities are endless.

Some common examples of subjects are:

  • a holiday destination you love
  • an animal you admire
  • your partner

Whatever you choose, it has to be something you can picture clearly in your head.

2. Write a List of Similes to Describe Your Subject

Note

Remember, a ​simile​ compares the subject to something else using "like" or "as."

The comparison should describe something very specific.

  • For example, describe your partner's hair by saying: "Her hair is like silk."
  • This suggests it is soft and lustrous.

Write down all the similes that come into your mind. Some won't be used in the final poem, but that doesn't matter. At this stage you are just getting some ideas out.

3. Write a List of Metaphors to Describe Your Subject

Note

Remember, ​metaphors​ don't use "like" or "as" to draw the comparison; they simply describe something as if it were something else.

  • For example, describe your partner's eyes by saying, "Her eyes are deep oceans."
  • This might say something about the color
  • It might also say how you could get lost or drown in them

4. Decide on the Structure of Your Poem

There is no set structure for poems using similes and metaphors.

  • They can be long or short
  • They can rhyme or not
  • They can have clear stanzas or be written in free verse

Note

A simple starting point is to have three or four stanzas of four lines each.

5. Arrange Your Metaphors and Similes in the Order You Want Them to Appear

The outline won't read like poetry yet because the ​metaphors​ and ​similes​ are just separate ideas and not linked together cohesively.

  • Focus on the images and not on specific words or rhymes.
  • Play around with what you have until you are happy with it.

6. Edit Your Metaphors and Similes to Create Cohesive, Poetic Lines

This may involve adding words, or removing them, to create fluency.

Take "Her hair is like silk / Her eyes are deep oceans."

This is not very poetic, but a few simple edits can make two separate ideas flow together:

"Hair like silk frames eyes

Oceans holding me with a glance

My heart lost in their depths"

Again, have fun with the words and the language. Once you are happy with it, give your poem a title and write out your final draft.