Sunday, June 23, 2013

When metaphors don't work

A line in a song says, "Open the eyes of my heart..." Now, I've mentioned this somewhere else, but that metaphor (which I believe does work, and I'm willing to stipulate so here) made me think of one that I feel should work when you look at the comparisons involved, and yet it doesn't.
   "Sprained ankle of the heart"--certainly sprains ache and hearts ache. And the way that sprained ankles can keep paining you for months or years after the initial injury fits how an heart ache can do. So it seems to me that it should work as a metaphor, but it just doesn't. It' lacks that "Aha!" moment that the best metaphors have. Maybe, you could have a working metaphor if you just referred to "sprained my heart," but I'm still not convinced. It would have the immediate relation to "break my heart." So, like you can sprain a joint or break its bone--sprained ankle, broken ankle--you could have "sprained heart," "broken heart." I'm just not sure if that works or works enough.

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