I am currently doing poetry exercises for another class and have run into a serious wall with similes and metaphors. The challenge is to write a poem at the end of each section of The Poet’s Companion, hoping that the chapter prompts from the book will offer some inspiration. Unfortunately, the metaphor chapter is giving me some difficulties, because I feel that what I am writing is, for lack of a better word, pretty lame. My metaphors are weak and cliché. I don’t want to force anything. However, for evidence that this is not the end of the world (and that there may be a solution), I will draw upon my memories as a young girl writing poetry with my grandparents.
Imagine a ten-year-old girl sitting atop a roof with a silver bucket of watermelon slices and a notebook. Seems really dangerous, right? Well, do not worry. My grandparents sat right beside me, pointing out plants and animals from our two-story perch (it was a weird tradition, I know). Anyway, we wrote small poems all day on that roof in Colorado. Some were silly and others very introspective, considering life and death. I remember one line going something like this: “Frigid like a lonely night in the mountain air.”
Whilst writing, we’d snack on watermelon and spit the seeds off the roof and into the gully. Since I was not yet a teenager, embarrassment was hardly apart of my vocabulary at the time. I imagined the wackiest worlds and wrote it all down, never holding back. I didn’t overthink a thing or fear that it was “lame.” I wrote everything down, spitting words out like the watermelon seeds.
I think that’s the mentality I have to re-associate myself with, reverting back to that version of me, writing poetry on a roof. Those metaphors definitely started off rough, but they got better in time. If I get out of my head and stop feeling embarrassed, I could come up with something great for this poetry assignment. Maybe all I need is some watermelon.