Day 9 Extended Metaphor

A metaphor that governs throughout the poem is called an extended metaphor. Explore the concept of extended metaphors by completing the Drawing Metaphors worksheet. Then, examine how the following poem demonstrates the concept.





Cliché by Billy Collins

My life is an open book. It lies here
on a glass tabletop, its pages shamelessly exposed,
outspread like a bird with hundreds of thin paper wings.

It is a biography, needless to say,
and I am reading and writing it simultaneously
in a language troublesome and private.
Every reader must be a translator with a thick lexicon.

No one has read the whole thing but me.
Most dip into the middle for a few paragraphs,
then move on to other shelves, other libraries.
Some have time only for the illustrations.

I love to feel the daily turning of the pages,
the sentences unwinding like string,
and when something really important happens,
I walk out to the edge of the page
and, always the student,
make an asterisk, a little star, in the margin.


Your Turn: Think of a metaphor for your own life that you can extend in this same way. Think of something which has several components, such as a kind of television show, movie, or game. Even certain kinds of food that involve many elements -- pizza, casserole, chef salad, -- or ingredients -- cakes and cookies, could inspire your poem. What about complicated places -- highway, library, cruise ship, dormitory, apartment house, shopping mall, a stadium, a garden? Perhaps your metaphor might extend an activity, like playing a football game (LOL) or driving a car. See “she being brand new” by e e cummings.
You can begin your poem "My life is . . . " or try somethg more subtle. Then explore the extensions of your metaphor.

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