MetaphorA metaphor is a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity. (Doug's paraphrase: it's a simile without "like" or "as").
In the following poem, I describe the sun as though it is a knife. I don't say it is "like a knife"; the reader is left to assume that this is a figure of speech, and the sun is not literally a knife.
Cadillac Mountain Sunrise
Awaiting the sun -
A golden knife, slicing the gloom
(Copyright 2007 by Douglas Twitchell)
The reader recognizes that the sun is not really a knife, but that the way a knife cuts food is similar to the way that the sun breaks the darkness.
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