Here’s a poem:
Practise swimming for a long, long time.
Practise shouting, ‘Help!’
Keep the water out.
Call for help.
If you see the water rising, leave.
If you think you’re sinking, grab something.
If you think there’s no way out,
you’re probably wrong
and there is a way out.
If you think you’re stuck,
probably you’re not.
If you think you can’t go on,
Probably you can.
You could say that this is a poem about being in water. That’s what it looks like. But what if we said that it’s not a poem about being in water. What would you say it’s about then? Whatever you think of that’s different from being in water, but still fits the words, will be OK. It also means that you’re saying that the words of the poem ‘stand in’ for other words. This means that they are ‘metaphorical’.
If I go back to what I was thinking when I wrote the poem, I was thinking about times when I felt stuck, or ‘going under’ because I was in difficulty. So you can see that instead of saying, ‘I felt I was going under’, I turned it round and made it like an instruction to myself to not drown!
For a poetry idea, then, can you think of a feeling, or emotion that you have…like happy or sad or excited or anything. Now see if you can be ‘metaphorical’ about it. That means thinking of any other thing in life, in nature, in things you might see in a city or round your house, that you can use to ‘represent’ that feeling.
Here are some ideas…how about feeling angry and using a description of a fire and getting burnt? Or how about feeling sad and using a description of a rain on trees or buildings?
Can you think of any others?