Sensory Images and Metaphor

April 21, 2022

Eagle flying

Working with students in their classroom, after talking about creating sensory images and the use of metaphor, I read one of my favorite poems, “Seven Ways of Looking at Eagles,” written by Tonia Scabby Face, Lakota, a middle-school student at Red Cloud Indian School:

“One way is how he soars high above the clouds.
The second way is when the eagle sits on a tree branch
Looking over the countryside.
The third way is when he grabs his prey on the prairie.
The fourth way is when the eagle lets us borrow his feathers.
The sixth way is when he talks to the rest of the sacred animals
So they can also keep you protected.
The seventh way is how the eagle sits waiting for your own flight to the sky.”

I asked students to choose any favorite animal, real or not real.

Their job was to write a poem in ten minutes using the same structure as the eagle poem, but maybe only five lines and they could change the wording, describe five ways of how they looked at their animal. Here is my favorite:

My Dragon 

My dragon has crystal blue eyes
Like a blazing glacier.

My dragon has a scaly rough face
And large blue wings. Together we soar up and over the moon.

My dragon is fierce and faithful, he is
By my side.

I wish I had a dragon ….”

Nancy Bo Flood

As a fish-brain surgeon or a rodeo poem wrangler, I have loved stories. I strongly believe that words – in poetry or prose – help heal our hearts and give us new eyes to see the world. I was first a research psychologist studying brain development at the University of Minnesota and London University before following my passion – writing for children. Learn more...