Metaphor in Spring

Metaphor Examples in Spring:

"Spring" 4

"uncarpeted..."   ("Spring")

The phrase “uncarpeted stairs” functions much in the way that “empty cup” does. It offers an everyday image to express the inherent meaninglessness of modern life. The images are both drawn from a household setting, contributing an additional tone of banality. It is perhaps in the daily toils that Millay’s statement that “Life in itself/Is nothing” feels most true.

"flight..."   ("Spring")

The word “flight” refers to the stairs but also carries a connotation of escape, a sense of something fleeting. The fleeting object is life itself, which contributes to its “nothing[ness].” Thus the narrator uses the two images in this line to render an account of her existential dilemma: life is both meaningless and evanescent.

"An empty cup..."   ("Spring")

The image of the “empty cup” is an expression of the modern, secular condition. The world itself is “empty,” void of meaning. It is up to each individual to “fill the cup,” so to speak. The act of poetic reflection represents one such method of creating meaning. Even if the poem cannot imbue April with meaning, the recording of one’s frustration or despair is meaningful in itself.

"idiot, babbling and strewing ..."   ("Spring")

Millay returns to the personification of April in the final lines of this poem. But unlike other poems in which spring is positively personified as bringing abundance and life, Millay personifies it as an “idiot.” “Babbling” suggests a childlike state that lacks intelligent thought or speech, and “strewing” connotes a lack of care. Millay’s April is an indifferent, unintelligent, and oblivious season. In this way Millay challenges the idea that Spring gives life and abundance. In her imagination it is unworthy of the metaphorical meaning ascribed to it.