Animal Metaphors

Posted on Thursday, December 26, 2013, under , ,

Here are two 'extended' animal metaphors I have come across recently. The first comes from a BBC4 documentary on one of the most unique singers/songwriters ever, Robert Wyatt. The man himself:

As far as I am concerned, I am dreaming all the time. The only difference is that I come up for daylight and other people the way a whale has to come up for air. 

cf: Have you heard of the term 'wyatting'? It's a verb. It means 'to play unusual tracks on a pub jukebox to annoy the other pub goers'. It sounds democratic enough to me. People complain of musical snobbishness of those who practice wyatting. But the complaints could be turned the other way. By the same token those 'snobs' have a right to complain, say of loud rap music that keeps them away from pubs. So, democratically, should a jukebox contain Brian Eno it is only fair that Brian Eno plays, provided someone is willing to slot a coin in the machine.

The second metaphor is by another Robert, R. Frost. This extract is taken from his 1923 interview for the New York Times Book Review, entitled 'We Seem to Lack the Courage to Be Ourselves'.

Men have told me, and perhaps they are right, that I have no 'straddle'. That is the term they use: I have no straddle. That means that I cannot spread out far enough to live in filth and write in the treetops. I can't. Perhaps it is because I am so ordinary. I like the middle way, as I like to talk to the man who walks the middle way with me. 

I have given thought to this business of straddling, and there's always seemed to me to be something wrong with it, something tricky. I see a man riding two horses, one foot on the back of one horse, one foot on the other. One horse pulls one away, the other a second. His straddle is wide, Heaven help him, but it seems to me that before long it's going to hurt him. It isn't the natural way, the normal way, the powerful way to ride. It's a trick.


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