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The oldest song with a great metaphor is a famous classical piece, Beethoven’s 5th Symphony with it’s widely recognized 4-note motif of DA-DA-DA-DA which is the metaphor of your life urgently knocking on your door and asking what you are doing with your life.
I took this classical piece and wrote my own song that further extends this metaphor and uses Beethoven’s old motif in the new song’s melody and lyrics.
Here is Beethoven’s original:
Here is my original contemporary song playing off Beethoven’s 5th Symphony:
Magic Dandelion – A Song With A Beautiful Metaphor To Cover Something Ugly
This is a very different song but a fitting one for metaphors. Metaphors are great to get the imagination going and the topic of this song really needed it. The “Magic Dandelion” is a song against gun violence and mass shootings.
The metaphor of this song is to replace something ugly like guns and instead of guns to blow dandelion petals that come in bunches like a machine gun might shoot bullets. So the metaphor of the magic dandelion is to spread petals of love. I thought it is a pretty visual that gives hope and a vision of something better. Here is the full song Magic Dandelion:
Song With Metaphors – The Road Song
This is a song about loneliness and a lack of support. The protagonist of the song is singing about how he is out on the road, but it would feel so much better if his woman gave him a more reassuring embrace as he was leaving. And as he is on his road, he is singing about “two cold evening stars looking down on me like your eyes” which is a fascinating and sad metaphor. It’s a beautiful song originally by Bulat Okudzhava which I translated to English here:
See How I Used Shakespeare’s Metaphors In My New Song
Shakespeare is the best writer of all time and I had an idea to add his amazing writing to my own song. When I came up with this idea, it felt like a long shot, but I actually did it and the song has been received by listeners so far. This Shakespeare song uses four famous original lines from Shakespeare with rich metaphors.
The lines in this song that are by Shakespeare are:
- Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.
- You have witchcraft on your lips.
- In your heart of hearts.
- Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.
Metaphor In A Song To My Daughter
When my daughter was born, I wrote a song about how she might grow up. Parents always think about how their children will grow up but when the kids are young, there are never any answers, just imaginings. So I imagined flowers growing wherever my daughter goes when she grows older. The main metaphor lyric of that song is:
You’ll face the world before long and flowers will bloom as you skip along.
To me, the metaphor of flowers growing wherever she goes is her doing beautiful things in the world and making people around her happy. But saying that directly is boring and overdone. It’s become cliche. But saying that flowers will grow wherever she goes is a pretty image that you can imagine. It’s also original. And most of all, it’s beautiful image she would discover about herself when she becomes old enough.
Here is the full song which is a great song for Father’s Day or Mother’s Day:
Hey Mr. Tambourine Man By Bob Dylan
The middle of this song has some of the best poetry in all of 20th century music. Here is the video of the song:
Let’s look at the verses:
Though I know that evenin’s empire has returned into sand
Vanished from my hand
Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping
My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming
Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin’ ship
My senses have been stripped, my hands can’t feel to grip
My toes too numb to step
Wait only for my boot heels to be wanderin’
I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way
I promise to go under it
Though you might hear laughin’, spinnin’, swingin’ madly across the sun
It’s not aimed at anyone, it’s just escapin’ on the run
And but for the sky there are no fences facin’
And if you hear vague traces of skippin’ reels of rhyme
To your tambourine in time, it’s just a ragged clown behind
I wouldn’t pay it any mind
It’s just a shadow you’re seein’ that he’s chasing
Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.
This is a long song, but lyrically, it is perhaps the best ever written song. These verses have so much imagination and reinvention of language and reality. The whole song is a metaphor with “…the evening’s empire that returned into sand…” and “ancient empty streets too dead for dreaming.” Plus, the “magic swirling ship” and the “dancing spell” and being “ready to go under it.”
It’s just an amazing dreaming song. Soon I’ll create a blog post entirely dedicated to just the lyrics of this song.
Learn To Create Beautiful Metaphors
Here is a tutorial on how to write metaphors which connect with readers and make them see imagery that inspires emotion. This tutorial even has a 3-step formula to help you create your own beautiful imagery for your songs or poetry.
If you prefer watching videos tutorials, here is a video tutorial where I use metaphors by Shakespeare and other great writers to show how much it enriches writing and how you can create your own:
Poetry Book With Songs That Have Many Beautiful Metaphors
I am excited to share with you that I compiled all my original poetry to which I wrote music and the Russian poetry that I translated into one unique and interactive poetry book. This poetry book with songs has a YouTube link that goes with every poem so you can listen to each poem as a song and hear how the music brings out the imagery in the poetry.