Metaphor in A Narrow Fellow in the Grass

Metaphor Examples in A Narrow Fellow in the Grass:

A Narrow Fellow in the Grass 3

"And Zero..."   (A Narrow Fellow in the Grass)

The final line contains a multi-layered metaphor. The phrase “Zero at the Bone” describes bone-chilling horror, a zero-degree temperature. It also suggests a state of personal annihilation, of becoming nothing. This final quatrain shows that the snake, personified as a harmless, “narrow Fellow” in the first quatrain, is not a person at all but a threat. The speaker, who loves all creatures, cannot love the treacherous trickster, the snake in the grass, the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Most pressingly, the speaker’s metaphors for the snake fall away, revealing the terrifying reality of the creature. This shift from trust to cold distrust is the poem’s central thematic turn.

"transport..."   (A Narrow Fellow in the Grass)

The word “transport” operates in two ways here. A “transport” can refer to an emotionally charged trance or rapture. In this case, the speaker experiences an overwhelming feeling of “cordiality,” or good will, towards “Nature’s People.” By a more obscure definition, “transport” is a synonym for metaphor. Thus the speaker admits that the cordiality she feels for “Nature’s People” is an act of projection. Indeed, the personification underlying such a phrase is a marked example of metaphor. The poem’s great thematic shift is a move away from a metaphor-driven relationship with the natural world.

"a Whip lash Unbraiding in the Sun..."   (A Narrow Fellow in the Grass)

The metaphor of the “Whip lash/ Unbraiding in the sun” is clever in the context of the poem’s broader themes. Throughout the poem, the speaker attempts to make sense of the snake by personification and comparison. As the poem reaches its conclusion, those attempts at familiarization fall apart. Thus, the figure of the whip lash begins unbraiding as soon as it appears.