Metaphor, similes, imagery…these are the blood and guts of poetry. When discussing metaphor for the first time in school (third grade?), the teacher’s example was, “The room was an oven.” I remember feeling something like, “Wow! A lot more interesting than saying, ‘The room was really hot.’” Even at that age, there was a little of the poet in me 😉.

The significance of metaphor has grown for me over the years. It’s more than descriptive or comparative language. Metaphor hints at an existential freedom from the concrete, the merely physical. What we are is not limited to sense experience. We are not subject to empiricism’s empire. Sense experience is a jumping off point; it suggests something beyond, something metaphysical or spiritual. If it didn’t, why would we be able to abstract or see supra-concrete relationships between things?

Earlier this summer, I tried to capture some of this in a poem. It is part musing about metaphor, part tribute: I borrow metaphors or imagery from some favorite poems as examples of how metaphor points to an identity outside the empirical.

As a challenge, I would love it if readers would comment and identify as many of the poems I borrow from as they can *without using a search engine*. The one who can name the most wins the prize of…feeling indomitably awesome 😆


If a falling leaf
is loneliness

if leaning grasses
are love

if one short sleep past
is death

we might still be free:

Free to take 
the road less traveled

free to fork lightning
with words

free to be
signs and symbols

of something more.

Published by mrteague

Teague McKamey lives in Washington state with his wife and two children. Teague’s poetry has appeared in several journals and in self-published books. He blogs at and In all areas of life, Teague desires that Christ may be magnified in his body (Php. 1:20).

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