Untitled Metaphor #1

Poetry swirls around me, like
Chocolate stirred in a porcelain mug:
I almost manage to catch a lump —
A word — against the china wall, but
It never describes what I saw.
I flail almost blindly through the
Thickening mental night,
Searching for some way to tell —
To tell that she’s beautiful,
Inspiring nothing but awe —
To tell that I just don’t know which
Of the seventeen different species of love
I hold in my heart for her.
As usual, it’s poetry holding me up
After hours, and the beautiful
Image of her that lulls me,
At long last, to sleep.

This is the first poem in my series of untitled metaphors. I probably wrote it near the beginning of my sophomore year of college, though it might have been that summer or conceivably during my freshman year. I’ve now also posted it to my wiki. Feedback of any kind, whether critique, commendation, reply, interrogative, or suggestion (especially of what to post next), or anything else, is as always eagerly requested and greatly appreciated.

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7 thoughts on “Untitled Metaphor #1

  1. Jonathan, I feel you should more carefully describe your metaphor of trying to break up clumps of cocoa that won’t stir in. Perhaps you could do this simply by using “cocoa” in place of “chocolate”. Though chocolate is inherently a richer word.

    Three stanzas perhaps?
    Don’t you need a break before “I flail,” as you are going to give an analogy about how you feel in trying to capture what you saw in her in words.
    Another break before “As usual,” since here you conclude with her image, peace, sleep.

    Blessed woman to inspire 17 kinds of love!
    God bless you!
    Maria

    • You may be right about breaking it up into stanzas; I’m not sure. I think that I was (among other things) trying to evoke the feeling of going round and round in circles, and breaking the poem up would seem to hinder that.

      Also, you’re not parsing the line about “seventeen different species of love” quite right. What I’m getting at is that there are at least (by my count) seventeen different kinds of love (like Lewis’s The Four Loves only I was more … granular? … in my counting), and I’m trying to figure out which of those I’m supposed to be feeling for her.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

  2. You could connect this going round in circles with the chasing clumps to break them up, then of course no need to into stanzas. You might use “brew” instead of “night” to do this.

    Jonathan, please don’t bristle, but here’s what you might do–parsing and meter aside–to make this more accessible to a reader like me:

    Poetry swirls around me, like
    Hot chocolate stirred in a mug:
    I almost manage to break up a lump –
    A word — against the china wall, but
    It never describes what I really saw in her.
    I flail almost blindly through the
    Thickening mental brew
    Like the chocolate itself,
    Searching for some way to tell –
    To tell that she’s beautiful,
    Inspiring nothing but awe –
    To tell that I just don’t know which
    Of the seventeen different species of love
    I hold in my heart for her.

    As usual, it’s poetry holding me up
    After hours, and the beautiful
    Image of her that lulls me,
    At long last, to sleep.

    • I don’t (usually) think of hot chocolate as “cocoa”, or (ever) as a “brew”, though those might be accurate descriptions, so I don’t think they’d fit.

      I think dropping the “porcelain” in the second line disrupts what meter this piece has (not that it’s regular anyway).

      Adding “in her” to the fifth line diminishes the meaning subtly. The thing about glory is that it illuminates not only its (here reflective) source, but everything else. (I need to write a poem about that sometime, I think, to treat the subject properly.) So while “in her” isn’t a wrong interpretation, it’s a simplification that I’d like to avoid if I can.

      Like I said, “brew” isn’t a word I’d ever use in this context. If “night” isn’t pretty immediately evocative, I suspect you don’t use as much chocolate in your hot chocolate as I do, but I could if it comes to that modify the image slightly and use “fog” instead.

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