A metaphor is a figurative language that compare one thing to another by substituting a figurative term with literal term. The purpose of metaphor is to evoke the qualities of the meaning and to allow readers understand the greater concept in the poem. The things that are compared mostly are unlike or dissimilar. For example, the poem “It sifts from Leaden Sieves” by Emily Dickinson compares the snow with wool and powder. In the first stanza, Dickinson writes:
It sifts from Leaden Sieves—
It powders all the Wood
It fills with Alabaster Wool
The wrinkles of the Road—
As we know, wool and powder with the snow are completely different things, but Dickinson creates some comparison to make the poem more beautiful and meaningful. Another example is the poem “Metaphors” by Sylvia Plath which is rich of metaphors.
I’m a riddle in nine syllables,
An elephant, a ponderous house,
A melon strolling on two tendrils.
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
This loaf’s big with its yeasty rising.
Money’s new-minted in this fat purse.
I’m a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
Plath compares pregnancy with ‘a riddle in nine syllables’, an elephant, a house, a melon, a stage, and a cow in calf. Uniquely, those metaphors create some pictures to the readers, so the readers can understand the whole meaning of the poem and indicate ‘pregnancy’ as the answer of Plath’s riddle.