10 Best Examples of Extended Metaphors in Poetry

A metaphor is an imaginative reference that shows a comparison between one thing or an idea to another. In other words, metaphor is a hidden similarity that a writer reveals through descriptive comparison. The extended metaphor is a metaphorical consideration that is discussed in detail in the piece of writing. Especially in poetry, it can last in a line, phrase, or whole poem. Extended metaphor gives a new color and charm to the poem. The poet mentions it once in the poem, leaving an echo of comparison throughout the poem. Extended metaphors have a different level of imagination, and so layer after layer poem becomes deeper and sometimes more complex. Some examples of extended metaphors in poetry are given below.

Example #1

hope is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson

hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune – without words,
And never stops at all,
And the sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chilliest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

In the above example, Emily uses the metaphor of a bird for the concept of hope. She describes the bird that rests in the soul and continues singing and never stops. That sweet song is so gratifying and pleasant that it can warm the ‘cold heart’ is an extended metaphor for optimistic thoughts.

Example #2

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The poet Robert Frost painted the picture of ‘yellow wood’ and the man who is confused before starting his journey in a deep forest. The forest and the pathways are used as an extended metaphor for life and decisions. Man must choose his path instead of copying others and facing losses in the world.

Example #3

Poetry by Meghan Frey

 Poetry is music to your mind.
It rhymes and flows.
It settles you and comforts you.
Poetry triggers thought.
It flies through your mind.
Poetry had a pattern to it.
Poetry is music

Here, the music is used as an extended metaphor for peace through poetry. The poet wants to relate the effects or effects of poetry to the listener, reader, and poet himself.  The words ‘trigger’ and ‘flies’ and ‘comforts’ are wisely selected for their readiness.

Example #4

Football Game by Richie Pelanek

A football game is war.
It’s like going against your enemy.
You don’t want to go down.
It’s like you are protecting your base.
You want to take them back.
Your quarterback is a General. It’s
your choice to win or lose
You don’t give up until it is over.
At the end the winner is who is standing.
You make peace with the enemy
then you go back home until another

The extended metaphor of war is a brilliant selection for the football match. The opponent team represents the enemy. Every team tries its best to let the other team down. Sportsmanship is well described in the line ’you make peace with the enemy’.

Example #5

Snowboarding by Marisa cook and Rachel Covert

Snow is butter, smooth but rough.
As I come down hills, I am a
As I travel up, I’m a flowing
stream. My board is my legs, as walking comes
Ready to go, I am

Butter is metaphorically used for snow in the first two lines. Next, the bullet is used for the snowboarding as the poet speedily comes down from the hill. The poet uses the extended metaphor of winter throughout the poem, describing the landing. He further explains his walk while descending the snowy mountain.

Example #6

My Room by Michelle Krebs and Eve Elsing

 My room is heaven
with its clouds on the walls
that are lit with a luminous glow from
the gentle morning sun.
That light is the key that opens my
The pillows on my bed are as fluffy as clouds
and as soft as a baby’s bottom.
The birds’ chirping is like angels singing in my
I am a God in my room and nothing else matters.

Here the poem is an extended metaphor for luxury or authority as the whole room is brilliantly described as heaven and a blessed place for the speaker where only his or her orders have the top hand.

Example #7

Children by Ali Ballweg

Children are flowers,
Always growing
Bright, Cheery
Making people happy
They are all different.
Blooming at their own time when
they are ready to show
Eventually they will die.
They need nurturing to thrive.
Waiting for approval.

The Flowers are well said for the children in these lines. Their fresh and vibrant life witness their good nourishment.

Example #8

Longing is a Sharp Knife by Gardel best Tango Singer Poetrix

Longing, is sharp knife
equal an expert butcher
carves meat perfectly

The poem is an extended metaphor for passion. Also, the sharp knife is used as an extended metaphor for longing. The craving or yearning is hard to bear.

Example #9

A Little Bird I Am by Jeanne M.B. De La Mothe

A little bird I am,
Shut from the fields of air,
And in my cage I sit and sing
To Him who placed me there;
Well pleased a prisoner to be,
Because, my God, it pleaseth Thee
Nought have I else to do,
I sing the whole day long;
And He whom most I love to please
Doth listen to my song;
He caught and bound my wandering wing;
But still He bends to hear me sing.

In the above example, the speaker identifies her personality as a bird locked up in a cage. The melancholy atmosphere, an extended metaphor prayer through tone, unveils the darker truth of being imprisoned.

Example #10

I Sit And Sew by Dunbar-Nelson

I sit and sew—a useless task it seems,
My hands grown tired, my head weighed down with dreams
The panoply of war, the martial tred of men,
Grim-faced, stern-eyed, gazing beyond the ken
Of lesser souls, whose eyes have not seen Death,
Nor learned to hold their lives but as a breath—
But—I must sit and sew.

This poem is an extended metaphor for death or the last moments of life. The words ‘hands’ and ‘dreams’ also contain hidden messages of aging. The dark shadows of rigid society and the monotony of life are well expressed in these lines.