Volume 14, Issue 1: Verbatim
It was a severe morning, and on his way home at noon he did not recover heart enough to practise the
bullfrog's croak, the craft of which Sam Williams had lately mastered to inspiring perfection. This sonorous accomplishment Penrod had determined to make his own. At once guttural andresonant, impudent yet plaintive, with a barbaric twang like the plucked string of a Congo war-fiddle, the sound had fascinated him. It is made in the throat by a process utterly impossible to describe in human words, and no alphabet as yet produced by civilized man affords the symbols to vocalize it to the ear of imagination. "Gunk" is the poor makeshift which must be employed to indicate it.
The most conspicuous point of contact between meaning and poetry is metaphor. For one of the first things that a student of etymology even quite and amateur studentdiscovers for himself is that every modern language, with its thousands of abstract terms and its nuances of meaning and association, is apparently nothing, from beginning to end, but an unconscionable tissue of dead, or petrified, metaphors. If we trace the meanings of a great many wordsor those of the elements of which they are composedabout as far back as etymology can taked us, we are at once made to realize that an overwhelming proportion, if not all, of them referred in earlier days to one of these two thingsa solid, sensible object, or some animal (probably human) activity.
Joss shrugged his shoulders. To attempt to reason further would, he saw, be a waste of time. His companion had spoken of this project of his as an idea, but J.B. Duff did not get ideas, he got obsessions, and on these occasions was like the gentleman in the poem who on honeydew had fed and drunk the milk of Paradise. You just said: "Beware, beware! His flashing eyes, his floating hair!" and wove a circle round him thrice, and that was practically all you could do about it.
Every metaphor is an allegory in little.
C. S. Lewis
It is a serious mistake to think that metaphor is an optional thing which poets and orators may put into their work as a decoration and plain speakers can do without. The truth is that if we are going to talk at all about things which arenot perceived by the senses, we are forced to use language metaphorically. Books on psychology or economics or politics are as continuosly metaphorical as books of poetry or devotion. There is no other way of talking, as every philologist is aware.
C. S. Lewis
We can make our speech duller; we cannot make it more literal.
C. S. Lewis
Fifteen birds in five firtrees,
their feathers were fanned with a fiery breeze!
But, funny little birds, they had no wings!
O what shall we do with the funny little things?
Burn, burn tree and fern!
Shrivel and scorch! A fizzling torch
To light the night for our delight,
Bake and toast `em, fry and roast `em!
till beards blaze, and eyes glaze;
till hair smells and skins crack,
fat melts, and bones black
in cinders lie
beneath the sky!
So dwarves shall die,
and light the night for our delight,
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