Visual After Apple-Picking Once by the Pacific Birches October Good Hours Auditory After Apple-Picking Mowing The Runaway An Old Man's Winter Night Stopping by Woods Olfactory After Apple-Picking To Earthward "Out, Out" Unharvested To a Young Wretch Gustatory After Apple-Picking To Earthward Blueberries A Record Stride The Exposed Nest Tactile After Apple-Picking Moon Compasses The Death of the Hired Man
- The Witch
- of Coos
On Going Unnoticed Organic After Apple-Picking Storm Fear Birches The White- Tailed Hornet Spring Pools Kinesthetic After Apple-Picking Bereft Ghost House A Late Walk Once by the Pacific
- Imagery may be defined as the representation through language of sense experience. Poetry indirectly appeals to our senses through imagery. Imagery is more incidental to a poem than metaphors, symbols and theme and they are often confused. Nevertheless, an image should conjure up something more than the mere mentioning of the object or situation. A mistake often made is to take every image as though it were a symbol or metaphor. Frost called that "pressing the poem too hard." Starting with the examples below, see how many you can find in each poem.
- There are 7 different kinds of imagery:
- Visual imagery - something seen in the mind's eye
- After Apple-Picking - magnified apples appear and disappear...every fleck of russet showing clear
- Once by the Pacific - the clouds were low and hairy...like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.
- Birches - the iced branches shed "crystal shells"
- October - Enchant the land with amethyst
- Good Hours - the cottages up to their shining eyes in snow
Auditory imagery - represents a sound (Go back to table)
- After Apple-Picking - the rumbling .. of load on load of apples coming in.
- Mowing - the scythe whispering to the ground
- The Runaway - the miniature thunder... the clatter of stone
- An Old Man's Winter Night - the roar of trees, the crack of branches, beating on a box
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - the sweep of easy wind and downy flake
Olfactory imagery - a smell
- After Apple-Picking - Essence of winter sleep in on the night, the scent of apples
- Note: just the mention of "the scent of apples" does not make it an image, but when connected to
- "essence of winter sleep" the scent gains vividness.
- To Earthward - musk from hidden grapevine springs
- Out, Out - the sticks of wood "sweet scented stuff"
- Unharvested - A scent of ripeness from over a wall...smelling the sweetness in no theft.
- To a Young Wretch - the boy takes the tree and heads home, "smelling green"
Gustatory imagery - a taste
- After Apple-Picking - although not specifically mentioned, the taste of the apples is implied
- To Earthward - I craved strong sweets ...now no joy but lacks salt
- Blueberries - the blueberries as big as your thumb...with the flavor of soot
- A Record Stride - the walking boots that taste of Atlantic and Pacific salt
- The Exposed Nest - A haying machine passes over a bird nest without "tasting flesh"
Tactile imagery - touch, for example hardness, softness, wetness, heat, cold ...(table)
- After Apple-Picking - the fruit to "Cherish in hand"
- Moon Compasses - "So love will take between the hands a face.."
- The Death of the Hired Man - Mary touches the harplike morning-glory strings and plays some tenderness.
- The Witch of Coos - the bed linens might just as well be ice and the clothes snow
- On Going Unnoticed - You grasp the bark by a rugged pleat,/ And look up small from the forest's feet.
Organic imagery - internal sensation: hunger, thirst, fatigue, fear
- After Apple-Picking - My instep arch not only keeps the ache, It keeps the pressure of a ladder round
- Storm Fear - My heart owns a doubt, It costs no inward struggle not to go
- Birches - It's when I'm weary of considerations/ And life is too much like a pathless wood, etc
- The White-Tailed Hornet - "To stab me in the sneeze-nerve of a nostril"
- Spring Pools - the trees drinking up the pools and along with it, the flowers
Kinesthetic imagery - movement or tension ....(table)
- After Apple-Picking - "I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend."
Bereft - Leaves got up in a coil and hissed,/ Blindly struck at my knee and missed.
- Ghost House - the black bats tumble and dart
- A Late Walk - the whir of sober birds, is sadder than any words
- Once by the Pacific: "Shattered water ...Great waves looked over others coming in,"
- Return to The Poetics of Robert Frost