Similes and Metaphors
Similes and metaphors are both used to compare one thing to something else. While similes and metaphors are very similar, there is one key difference between the two: similes always use the words "like" or "as" to make their comparison, while metaphors lack these two key words.
My fingers are so cold they feel like ice cubes.
Her hair looked like a waterfall down her back.
Her skin was white as snow.
My fingers are ice cubes.
A waterfall of hair fell down her back.
Her skin was snow, white against her jet black hair.
Here's a poem with many similes in it. It is called A Dream Deferred, and it was written by Langston Hughes, an African American man who wrote many poems during the Harlem Renaissance.
A Dream Deferred
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
Here's an excerpt from a poem full of metaphors. Each new stanza is a different metaphor comparing a book to something else. The poem is called A Book Is and it is adapted from a poem by Kathy Leeuwenburg.
A Book Is
A book is
an open flower
scented pages, fragrant hours
a crafty fox
surprising in its clever plots
a fairy's wings
with princesses, enchanted kings
where breezy thoughts are never still
an hour glass
whose pages flow as hours pass...