A Lesson in METAPHOR

Metaphors got you all floating on air, sliding in and out of reveries, dancing on sunshine and rainbows? This darling poetic device can rock someone’s world or slip in between the cracks of anybody’s ordinary thoughts on paper.

Emily Dickinson nailed it with her take on hope. Of all her poems, this is easily in my top three. Her ability to capture exactly what we all think and feel then weave it into something so clipped and emotional … {sigh}.

Metaphors make great hooks for essays, fodder for existential proclamations, and, of course, sparkling nuggets of gold in an otherwise ordinary poem. For this exercise, wedge one of these bad boys into your verse and watch it go from interesting to provocative. Dig deep and let the words fly.

Here are some metaphorical phrases to get you started.

Metaphors to start a verse:

Their bed of lies …

Your heart of stone …

His iron will drove him to …

The open book that is her life …

Each chapter in his journey …

His words were food for his/her soul …

The storm inside her head kept …

His/her countenance was light and life …

Those words igniting the child’s imagination with blazing …

Metaphors to end a verse:

… broken hope but mended with gold

… hidden in the gray area of our circumstance

… lost in the sea of tranquility

… buried deep in the caverns in his heart

… cherishing all the stars in her eyes

… with all the joy bubbling over

… kindling the fire in their hearts

… reaping the harvest of bitterness

… whispered between the lines of love and hate

Now, go forth my rock-solid poet and smash some oddball thinga-ma-dillies together followed by some enlightening connection we all couldn’t see without your help! I bet you’ve gotten all warm and fuzzy and have already made your own list of metaphorical phrases to put into that phenomenal poetry of yours. I can’t wait for you to share your work with me!

~Brooke E. Wayne



A Lesson in IMAGERY

Whether you’ve stumbled upon this section of my website by accident, or if you zapped one of the QR codes in my latest publication, WELCOME!

IMAGERY can be a writer’s greatest tool in the kit. Packed with five powerhouse senses, this poetic device creates vibrant poetry. Use one or use them all, no matter what, let your readers see, smell, taste, touch, and hear what’s going on with their experience when reading your poems. Robert Frost—lover of all things natural and earthy—liked to tap into the sensory world with his poetry. When I read his work, I’m feeling the icy wind and warming sunshine. I smell the fresh snow, and hear the birds beckon the warmth to set spring free…

I have an entire section devoted to imagery in my workbook and a lengthy list of sensory terms for you to play with—just head back to the workbook and flip a few pages ahead.

Below are some additional sensory phrases for you to plop into the middle of your verses. I’m all about the feels—I write romance, remember? Take a peek…


Shadows slid across the ground …

Lavender bells swayed in the wind …

Candy apple red lips laughed …


Ripe orange peels and eucalyptus permeated the hole-in-the-wall, used book store …

Warm leather and spice filled her senses as she buried her nose in his neck …

Sweet cherry blossoms shimmied on the branches scattering their perfume through the breeze …


The bed groaned beneath the …

Cackling laughter carried across the pitch black alley …

Her giggling led to snorts and before she knew it …


A ribbon of succulent peach juice trailed down the child’s chin …

Pungent scum blanketed the lifeless pond …

Blackberries and oak burst in her mouth as she swirled the sip of wine around her tongue … (if you’re a teen: tart cherries and pineapple burst in his mouth as he gulped the ice-cold drink)


Warm grains of sand slid through her fingers …

The velvety blanket enveloped …

Icy wind pressed against …

Go forth, you delicious maker of satisfying poems, and craft a sensuous beauty for me. I can’t wait for you to share your poetry with me!

~Brooke E. Wayne


CLASSIC POET’S CORNER: Elizabeth Barrett Browning


Whether you’ve stumbled upon this section of my website by accident, or if you zapped one of the QR codes in my latest publication, WELCOME!

We’ve all heard the opening line of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s most beguiling love poem, Sonnet 43. We’ve quoted it, parodied it, seen it in textbooks and on coffee mugs, and have probably heard it at a dozen weddings or more. It sings of true love—a heart bursting with emotional truths—and maybe a tad bit of unhealthy obsession, too.

Browning’s playful extremes, aching with desperation, resonate with anyone who has ever fallen irrevocably in love with someone–a love so deep the idea of death do us part doesn’t even seem like it could bring those feelings closure.

As a writer, it would be a practical exercise to mimic this poem. Why? The poem’s overuse of hyperbolic statements makes it a wonderful lesson in going to the extreme. Writing a poem in general is like pouring a glass of wine into a thimble and doubting the sip will embody all the wine’s fruity notes…and yet, it does. One tiny drop of wine on the tongue can deliver its overall explosive flavor to your taste buds—that’s why wine tasting is just that—a sip. (If you’re a teen, disregard my implied metaphor and think, wow, that stick of gum still tastes like mint even after I’ve been chewing on it for an hour. I bet my breath will stay fresh forever!)

Poems hold everything a reader needs to know to fully understand the poet’s intentions in just a few verses or stanzas, like a sip of wine (or a stick of gum–just go with it).

            Emulating Sonnet 43 in your own original poem will give you an opportunity to mess around with hyperbole—a play on words easily overlooked as a poetic device because of their overuse in everyday life as common language. A hyperbole is an absurd exaggeration meant to prove a point. Your creative challenge will be to veer from the theme of love that Browning expounded upon, and dive into another emotion wrapped around a different context.

Here are some possible prompts to create your own hyperbolic poem:

Your passion for writing

Your anguish over a political topic

Your hope in a dream coming true someday

Your sorrow over the loss of something valuable

Your determination in reaching a goal

Your grief in losing someone you love

Your inner strength and focus on self-care

Your rage over a situation in which you were wronged

Your joy in accomplishing a project

Your respect for someone you admire

Your responsibility towards someone you care about

Your fears towards something you cannot control

Now, go forth, you imaginative artist, and write some hardcore, over-the-top poetry, and feel free to overuse the pesky exclamation point all you want!!! I can’t wait for you to share your poetry with me!

~ Brooke E. Wayne