Yesterday I took a poetry field trip, walking all by myself down to the river while the boys all worked on the maple syrup and rode bikes and played two square. I found a nice comfy spot, leaning against a tree, and wrote a fairly dreadful poem about the river.
The exercise was to sit quietly and listen, then write down what you hear and then compare it to something. I'm not a natural-born metaphor-maker and I struggle with metaphor, simile, analogy, and personification. In fact, I gave a graduate presentation on "Figurative Language for the Metaphorically Challenged," with the hopes that I in teaching it I might get better at it, but it's still a challenge for me.
How about you? Are you a born metaphorical genius or do you have a hard time coming up with figurative language? What are your tricks for developing fresh images and avoiding cliches? What would you compare the sound of a river to? (I came up with marching, applause, shouting)