The figurative language of poet Maggie Smith

Reading time: About 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about metaphors from poet Maggie Smith….

I had never heard of a poem going “viral” until I heard about the poem Good Bones by Columbus, Ohio poet Maggie Smith.

I immediately went searching for the poem and found it here. I loved it.

After that, I went looking for Smith’s 2023 memoir, You Could Make This Place Beautifulwhich I had heard told the story of her divorce from a husband who couldn’t deal with how suddenly famous his wife had become. I found it beautifully written, very moving and surprisingly warm hearted.

Of course, as a poet, Maggie Smith has plenty of metaphors up her sleeve. Here are my favourite ones.

  • It was an unusual pinecone, the one my husband brought home from a business trip as a souvenir for our five-year-old son, Rhett. Like a small wooden grenade, I thought.
  • There are so many windows, living in this house is like living in a glass display case, especially after dark.
  • What spark was I supposed to feel each day in waking up, tipping the whistling kettle over the coffee grounds, warm and wet and black as soil, then trudging, hunched over, to the basement to do more laundry?
  • How sad the kettle sounded when I removed it from the flame — how it whined before it grew quiet, went silent.
  • I made myself small, folded myself up origami tight.
  • The sky was delft and cloudless, and our son’s hair was a nest of yellow straw from a week at the sea.
  • When my marriage ended, I did the things we all do after a breakup: I tortured myself by listening to sad-ass songs on repeat, like pressing a bruise.
  • In a divorce, the question is so often “Why?” I may never know for sure, but clues are arriving knocking on the door, rattling the windows. They prickle along the back of my neck.
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