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In a letter to her sister Cassandra dated 24 Jan 1809, Jane Austen wrote about her writing, saying "Could my Ideas flow as fast as the rain in the store-closet it would be charming." (Austen's niece had learned that her aunt was an author, and Austen was hoping not to disappoint her niece's expectations.) I think most authors have felt the same way Austen did - worried what friends and family might think. And wishing that their writing were more easily accomplished.

Of course, Austen's sentence comparing ideas to a leak in a closet counts as metaphor, and it sent me thinking of the following poem by former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins.

The Death of Allegory
by Billy Collins

I am wondering what became of all those tall abstractions
that used to pose, robed and statuesque, in paintings
and parade about on the pages of the Renaissance
displaying their capital letters like license plates.

Truth cantering on a powerful horse,
Chastity, eyes downcast, fluttering with veils.
Each one was marble come to life, a thought in a coat,
Courtesy bowing with one hand always extended,

Villainy sharpening an instrument behind a wall,
Reason with her crown and Constancy alert behind a helm.
They are all retired now, consigned to a Florida for tropes.
Justice is there standing by an open refrigerator.

Valor lies in bed listening to the rain.
Read the rest here



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