To use figurative language is to employ figures of speech, such as metaphor and simile, when ideas are compared. The poem “You’re” by Sylvia Plath is an excellent example of figurative language in poetry. As you read “You’re”, notice how often she used the words “like” and “as”…
Clownlike, happiest on your hands,
Feet to the stars, and moon-skulled,
Gilled like a fish. A common-sense
Thumbs-down on the dodo’s mode.
Wrapped up in yourself like a spool,
Trawling your dark as owls do.
Mute as a turnip from the Fourth
Of July to All Fools’ Day,
O high-riser, my little loaf.
Vague as fog and looked for like mail.
Farther off than Australia.
Bent-backed Atlas, our traveled prawn.
Snug as a bud and at home
Like a sprat in a pickle jug.
A creel of eels, all ripples.
Jumpy as a Mexican bean.
Right, like a well-done sum.
A clean slate, with your own face on.
To read more about figurative language and poetry, see Learning about Figurative Language.
Find out about poetry a to z.