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During our poetry unit in fifth grade one assignment was to bring in our favorite poem I chose the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost At this time I believed the poem to be about a forest and two roads I did not understand the metaphor of the roads as choices Before I read Mary Olivers A Poetry Handbook I realized the narrowness of this initial perception but I never understood that the entire poem could be labeled a metaphor I thought a metaphor had to be more explicit than the metaphor in The Road Not Taken or in Digging It had to outrightly say Life is a journey or Love is a rose for it to be titled a metaphor however after reading A Poetry Handbook I understand that metaphors can simply be suggested and do not need to be stated Mary Oliver begins by defining a metaphor as an implicitcomparison one that does not use the words like or as in its construction 102 She then discusses the metaphors purpose in a poem She explores how a metaphor surprises and delights as well as it enlightens 102 Reading a poem only once often leads to overlooking the metaphor because it is implicit Because the two things compared often seem very different when recognized the metaphor surprises the reader 102 The metaphor then enlightens because it brings the reader a deeper understanding of the poem The metaphor Seamus Heaney uses in Digging compares a pen to a spade Heaneys metaphor is implicit because he only relates the two tools through their action When the spade sinks into gravelly groundMy father diggingBetween my finger and my thumbThe squat pen restsIll dig with it Both the spade and the pen are described as tools for digging This poem is told from the perspective of the son He describes the different generations of men and their job of digging While his father and grandfather
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