A metaphor compares two unlike things without the use of “like” or “as.” The way to do this is to describe or refer a thing as being something else it resembles.
For example, a poet may refer to a person as “stone” if they do not show emotion after a loss OR a person could be referred to as a “snake” if they are sneaky and take advantage of others.
Metaphors are powerful tools that are used in poetry to explain or help interpret ideas or emotions that are hard to describe.
Sometimes, a metaphor is used throughout the poem that makes it easy to identify the language and symbols used. It can also help facilitate in the interpretation of a piece as is the case for some poets who use figurative language to refer to mortality.