A metaphor is a form of speech that speaks to another object while also referring to the first. It could offer clarification or reveal unnoticed connections between two dissimilar ideas. Classic Poems With Metaphors and other figurative language forms like antithesis, hyperbole, metonymy, and simile are typically associated. For instance, it is said that a metaphor is a “fusion of analogies,” that it “operates in a similar way,” that it is “based on the same mental process,” or even that “the fundamental analogy processes are at work in the metaphor.”

Here is the list of top 10 Classic Poems with Metaphors

1. Hope Is The Thing With Feathers – Emily Dickinson

The poem is a type of hymn, “Hope is the thing with feathers,” which was written in appreciation of people’s capacity for and clinging to hope. The poem also depicts hope as a bird that resides in a person’s soul and sings.

Furthermore hope never demands anything in exchange, yet it is free for people to hold onto hope. However, “Hope is the thing with feathers” exhorts its believers to make use of hope wisely.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And never stops – at all –

2. Langston Hughes – Mother To Son

A mother issues a life lesson to her kid in the poem. Here she warns him that life won’t be simple and that it will be difficult. But he will be confused by life, and moving forward with her won’t be helpful to him. Since she stated about the lack of support she never received, and according to her own understanding, she is thus unsure of what to do next.

Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it,

And splinters,

And boards torn up,

3. William Shakespeare – Sonnet 4

Here in this sonnet, Shakespeare talks about the beauty of a young man, who hesitates to pass it on to the world. Though beauty is a natural gift that lends only to those who are generous.

Also, the metaphor of beauty is depicted as a value that is also applied. Perhaps the poet believes the young beauty would make this comparison work better since we are given the impression that he is quite selfish and motivated by praise or fame.

Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend

Upon thy self thy beauty’s legacy?

Nature’s bequest gives nothing, but doth lend,

4. Death Be Not Proud – John Donne


The English poet and Christian theologian John Donne penned “Holy Sonnet 10,” often known as “Death, Be Not Proud,” in 1609; it was first printed in 1633. The poem is a letter to death in which it is warned not to be haughty merely because certain people find death frightful and intimidating.

Since the author describes dying as resting and sleeping, he believes that people who have had meaningful lives will find death to be enjoyable. Similar to this, dying simply signifies the spirit entering the afterlife and the body going to rest.

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee 

Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;

5. Maya Angelou – Caged Bird

Shaker, Why Don’t You Sing, a collection of poems by Maya Angelou, contained the poem “Caged Bird” in 1983. The poem contrasts the experiences of two birds: one is free to live in nature as it pleases, while the other is kept in a cage and endures suffering.

A free bird flies downstream with the wind before he presumes the sky as his own until the wind, and current change and the bird dips its wings in the orange sunlight. Whereas, the imprisoned bird sings in fear of things he does not understand but still yearns for freedom.

A free bird leaps

on the back of the wind

and floats downstream

The caged bird sings

with a fearful trill

of things unknown

6. Sylvia Plath – Lady Lazarus

Months before she committed suicide in 1963, Sylvia Plath penned “Lady Lazarus” in 1962. The poem makes reference to the biblical account of Lazarus, who was famously raised by Jesus. Here, Sylvia Plath discusses the burden of her unsuccessful suicide attempts, and how, during her final try, she finds a new version of herself.

Though after multiple attempts on ending her life, she failed to do so. Then, her heart became angry toward those who were present. Finally, she expressed that she will not stop trying, till she will rise like a phoenix and eat men like air if she is saved.

I have done it again.   

One year in every ten   

I manage it

7. The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Robert Frost wrote “The Road Not Taken,” one of his most well-known poems, in England in 1915. For instance, an option between two paths was presented, but the speaker in the poem chooses the path “least travelled,” which he believed “made all the difference.”

Here in this poem, the author was strolling down a forest during the autumnal season, here he was at a crossroads to make a decision between two roads. Also, to reflect back from a future perspective if he had taken the right decision, the result would have made a difference in the world.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveller, long I stood

8. Mary Oliver – The Black Snake

Mary Oliver’s poem “The Black Snake” was first released in 1979. Here in the poetry, Oliver frequently explores the natural environment and the points where man and nature converge. In this poem, the author describes running over a black snake that had crossed the road without her noticing it. She also mentions the death, stating how it happened abruptly and was inevitable; but she also reflects on how priceless life is and how fortunate they are to be alive.

When the black snake

flashed onto the morning road,

and the truck could not swerve–death, that is how it happens.

9. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas, a Welsh poet, wrote “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night,” which was first published in 1951. Nevertheless, Thomas’ father was the subject of the poem.

However, the poem inspires the aged—those who are ill, ageing, and dying—to valiantly battle death and refuse to let it triumph over life. In conclusion, the poem also honours the vitality and vigour of human life, despite the fragility and shortness of life.

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

10. Alice Walker – Be Nobody’s Darling

Alice Walker is well renowned for her direct-to-the-point comments of reliable advice since she has had a history of difficult experiences. Though being born into a poor household she was told that black children do not need an education, and later on, she was blinded in one eye.

Furthermore, Be Nobody’s Darling is no exception, it was adapted from the events in her own life that gave her profound understanding. Moreover, the poet discusses how society views them as outcasts and to “accept the conflicts” of life, also wrapping them around like a shawl.

Be nobody’s darling;

Be an outcast.

Take the contradictions

Of your life

And wrap around

You like a shawl,


A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is used to refer to a subject, notion, or thing to which it does not actually apply. It is a figurative identification of one item with another by an inferred analogy or unacknowledged comparison. Authors employ this technique to change or distort a word’s meaning. They make use of them to spice up or amuse the reader with their writing. The most prevalent figurative language is a metaphor. Know more about metaphors during Henry Harvin’s creative writing course.


Why would someone use a metaphor?

The literary device of metaphor aids readers in comprehending, paying attention to, remembering, and acting upon messages. A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is used to describe something other than what it technically means.

Which of the following describes a metaphor the best?

It is a figure of speech term that is used to qualify a comparison.

What impact does a metaphor have?

Metaphors portray feelings and impressions that are simpler to understand and react to than convey vivid imagery that transcends literal meanings.

What words are used in metaphors?

When comparing two nouns in the present tense (i.e., “is” or “are”) or the past tense (i.e., “was” or “were”), metaphors employ the keywords “was” or “were.”

How many different types of metaphors exist?

Both classical expressions and informal everyday language employ them. There are more than a dozen different kinds of metaphors, yet there are only five main categories: dead, absolute, mixed, extended, and allegorical metaphors.

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