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List of Moon Metaphors

Here are some moon metaphors and similes (and a few “literal resemblances” )  which I have come across in my casual reading.  I offer them here as a random, non-evaluative sampling. I hope that these examples inspire my blog readers to compose their own metaphors and similes, and to pay closer attention to the real moon in its many phases.

I want to comply with the “Code of Best Practices In Fair Use For Poetry.” If you think that my list below is not in full accordance, please contact me by sending an email message to, or by leaving a comment on this page.

1) MOON POEMS — compilations

To read a variety of moon poems, sort through this NIGHT compilation on the website of the Academy of American Poets.


Moonbook & Sunbook by Willis Barnstone offers more than 50 of his poems in the section “Moonbook.” The 60-line poem “Song of the Moon” by Iraqi poet Nazik al-Mala’ika (translated by Matthew Sorenson and Christopher Middleton) presents many metaphors/similes for the moon. A sampling follows:

“a glass of milk”
“A honey jar”
“A bouquet of lilies clasped by the sky”
“a basket of jasmine”

The entire poem may be found on pages 336-338 of Modern Arabic Poetry, edited by Salma Khadra Jayyusi (Columbia UP, 1987).


3) “the cold porcelain knob / of the moon”
Ted Kooser — see citation below

4) a night light: “is china … doll-faced … closed as a tooth … banana”
Nancy Willard — see citation below

5) “a silver papoose canoe”
Native American, translated by Carl Sandburg

6) “The silver knocking / Of the moon’s knuckles / At the door of the night”
Edna St. Vincent Millay — see citation below

7) “Moon like a hard drive / just over the understory”
Charles Wright — see citation below

8) “First character of the celestial alphabet, the full moon, / Is a period, and that is that.”
Charles Wright — see citation below

9) “The quarter moon, like a light skiff, / floats out of the mist-remnants / Of last night’s hard rain.”
Charles Wright — see citation below

10) “Moonlight like watery paint / On the yard grass and arborvitae.”
Charles Wright — see citation below

11) “New moon like a jai alai basket / just over the doctor’s rooftop, / Craddling the old moon before her fall.”
Charles Wright — see citation below

12) “…the Moon behind thin clouds, almost full / like your breast behind lace, I imagine…”
Dan Wilcox — see citation below

13) an aspirin is a moon [technically, a metaphor for aspirin, not for the moon]
Chris Forhan — see citation below

14) “The moon in its prime / will burst forth like a diva with the surf applauding.”
Barbara L. Greenberg — see citation below.

15) “The wild moon foamed at the mouth.”
Margo Taft Stever — see citation below.


FORHAN: Chris Forhan’s poem “Aspirin and Shadow” was featured on the website Poetry Daily on June 24, 2011. Check here:

GREENBERG: Barbara L. Greenberg’s poem “No It Is Not Too Late” on page 11 of her chapbook Late Life Happiness (Madison: U Wisconsin Libraries, 2010).

KOOSER: Ted Kooser’s “november 12″ on page 13 of his book Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison (Pittsburgh: Carnegie Mellon UP, 2000).

MILLAY: Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem “This Dusky Faith” on page 268-69 of Collected Lyrics of Edna St. Vincent Millay  (NY: Washington Square Press, 1966).

NATIVE AMERICAN: Carl Sandburg’s translation of the Native American poem “Early Moon” (author?) on page xi of Native American Poetry edited by George W. Cronyn (Mineola: Dover, 2006).

STEVER: Margo Taft Stever’s poem “Splitting Wood” appeared in the February 2012 e-newsletter of Slapering Hol Press (Sleepy Hollow, NY).

WILCOX: Dan Wilcox’s poem “Poeming” on the first text page of his chapbook Poeming the Prompt (Albnay, NY: A.P.D., 2011).

WILLARD: Nancy Willard’s poem “Night Light” on pages 499-500 of The Longman Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry 1950-1980 edited by Stuart Friebert and David Young (NY: Longman, 1983).

WRIGHT: Charles  Wright’s long poem/book Littlefoot contains all the metaphors listed above for this author. Littlefoot is re-published in Mr. Wright’s book Bye-and-Bye: Selected Late Poems (NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011). The metaphors listed above are published on these pages of Bye-and-Bye : 209, 214, 225, 298, 302.


15 responses »

  1. its verry verry song !


  2. Thank you Therese for the scholarly gathering of moon references.
    I am bookmarking this bouquet for my moon metaphors and am indebted to WordPress for the email alert!
    Jeanne Poland


  3. This is no use at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. Everytime I get an e-mail from your site it is like
    a cool moon slice of lemon in my tea,
    a pure toothy smile,
    and a cusp of prophet power rising up to light the darkness.

    Perhaps you will enjoy my daughter’s photos captured in Morroco.

    Jeanne Poland


  5. Hi! WordPress is sending me to your blog again.
    A visit with family!!!!!
    Hope you get a chance to view my Calligraphy book.
    Jeanne Poland


  6. Hey Tee
    I’m your big fan on this post.
    Gratifying to get the instant response to the watercolor haiku: And after the moon has set too!
    Jeanne Poland


  7. This is no use at all


  8. same^


  9. wow! this is actually really good. I have been looking everywhere from a web like this! this is probs the best!


  10. Thank you for visiting my USA poetry blog, LasVegas in the United Kingdom.


  11. So bad


  12. Very confusing and was quite unimpreesed compared to other websites


  13. Absolutely…USELESS!!!


  14. Have some courage, Anonymous!




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