The Light-Hearted Life of Similes


I’m reading the latest collection of a
well-known poet’s new and selected
poems. Comfortable little poems with
open doors and windows for seeing in.
Soft-edged verses rich with nostalgia,
the thrum of everyday life, observations of
rural life and the natural world. The
poems are amply adorned with similes,
metaphors, and imagery.

As the poet knits together poems some
intricately designed similes overpower
at the expense of the theme, like TV
commercials so entertaining the viewer
loses sight of the product being touted.

One such simile describes the appearance
of the poet’s old dog as akin to a folding
table with one of the legs not snapped
in place — a tortured simile that looked
as if it had escaped from the overwrought
similes’ holding cell. Chuckling, I envision
the old dog wobbling and trembling its way
through the poem, hopping on three legs
as the bewildered simile clatters up shouting
“let me in, let me in.”

Possessing minimal talent for designing
clever similes, I seldom attempt them.
But when I do, I like to believe they enhance
the energy of my poems — like a man on a
pogo stick competing with a youngster
on a trampoline.

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The over use of similes.