A Reflection on Metaphor in Poetry with Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu

Today, Featured Artist Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu reflects on metaphor, and its place in poetry.

Photo by manu schwendener on Unsplash
Metaphor?
There was once a time in my writing when I felt that metaphors were the most important things in
poetry. I love metaphors, I believe in them. But day by day as I come across various kinds of poems in various forms and styles, I am drawn to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, metaphors aren't the most important thing in poetry.
There's such a thing as the fabric of a poem. What is it made of? Does it harden to the touch of the
tongue? Does it repel itself from the heart? Does it soften to its reader? Does it have the ability to drawthe reader into a new, different mood? All of these gather to contribute to the success of the poem.
Upon close introspection, I have come to the conclusion that this is the mood of the poem, as I like to call it. And so everytime I write a poem, I find myself examining it to feel its mood, because this is the closest I can get to knowing whether or not my reader will feel it too. While metaphors are great and moving, there is a translation of mood and aesthetic into a poem that can be even more moving. Because then, you have struck a reader in a way that she can't even fathom.
She knows that she is moved, that she feels this thing you have written so deeply, but she also cannot quite single out the thing that has made her so. And what is the essence of a poem if not to move in such a stupefying manner?
Perhaps, tomorrow, I will realize that moods are great, but also not the ultimate thing -- like I did metaphors. Perhaps not. But right now, it is the thing I most treasure.

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