120spacer.gif (56 bytes) Figures of Speech

Poets often write in special ways, creating a sort of mental shorthand for the reader, referring to knowledge that the poet hopes is shared with the reader. Other technical skills involve the repetition of sounds or making a jarring connection aurally. (These skilled uses of specific language usually do not translate well into other languages, hence are idiomatic (which is not the same as idiotic).) Some of these are:

assonance -- repetition of a vowel sound (often in the middle of a word).
Eg. Hungry, the owlet seeks out the mouse house

consonance -- the repetition of final or consonant sounds.
Eg. Lovely lucky ladies seldom lose

dissonance -- the creation of a jarring in the listener’s ear with harsh sound combinations.
Eg. Clashed rhythmical contusions shattered her aching auricular vents

simile -- the use of "like" or "as" to compare things
Eg. You look like a Goddess, She skates as though she had wings.

metaphor -- a stronger comparison than a simile, which does not use "like" or "as". Eg. The Lion of Winter crept into Toronto last night, or "The fog comes on little cat feet".

allusion -- a reference to a shared, understood experience, so that one hint of it create the whole, complete in the listener’s head.
Eg. "Uncle Fred hasn’t been the same since the crash" assumes that you understand which crash (a car crash, the crash of an aeroplane, the stock market crash)

parallelism -- is the use of two references which compliment each other, or complete each other.
Eg. day and night, the quick and the dead, over and over.

onomatopoeia -- the use of a word which represents, aurally, its own meaning.
Eg. clash, oink, splatter

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