The first sailboat I ever saw
looked like an angel
floating over thoughts of God.
In a recent post I asked if you thought "Southshore" was a poem. The response was a unanimous: yes.
I happen to agree. It's interesting to ask ourselves why. The presence of a simile is one obvious aspect, but similes are common in prose and in everyday speech.
The stanza shape vaguely resembles a sail full of wind. The meter is irregular and mostly iambic.
Let's see what it looks like in prose: The first sailboat I ever saw looked like an angel floating over thoughts of God.
Is it still a poem? You tell me.
One reader mentioned that they prefer metaphors to similes but they didn't elaborate on why.
Can we rewrite the poem with a metaphor instead of a simile?
Yes, it's actually quite easy.
The first sailboat I ever saw:
an angel floating over
thoughts of God.
This streamlines the poem and cuts out "looked like," which functions here more like punctuation than diction.
I think the poem is improved this way. Notice how "floating over" now actually floats over?
Thanks, E.B., for the nudge!
What do you think?
Yes, I'm the author of "Southshore" and I wrote it as a bit of marginalia to fill up a nook of space on a page in my working notebook.