Linking from Target - Policeman

Today we are adding a “linking” step into our workings, a technique devised by Pat Pattison that can help mine some interesting metaphors.

Essentially, we start by taking our object and thinking of what characteristics it has. This is our linking word. We then think of what else has this quality, and use this thing as our source domain for our object writing in the usual sensory way.

It is much less confusing than it sounds. Today steps 1 and 2 are given, so we have:

Target Domain: Policeman
Linking Quality: Protects
Source Domain: ___

So to find your source domain you need to think of something that protects, and then use this as a metaphor for a policeman. For example, a flu vaccine protects, so you could write about the police immunizing the public to help fight the symptoms of crime.

I hope that makes sense, and that you enjoy this new approach!

Policeman Protects Atmosphere

The policeman is ever present, looking over all. A sun on his chest reflects a promise he made, a promise for a new day. He is drenched in blue. He insulates us, allows us to enjoy warm days and cool nights. When particles, unseen, become overcharged, he shields us, reflecting them back into the void. He’s the first line of defense against the melanoma that scars our society. If he does his job properly, we don’t even notice he’s there, serving as a one way mirror to the darkness. He encourages us to change our ways while there is still time to avoid tearing the hole in his defenses further. When he is overwhelmed, he sends thunder crashing down, but ultimately offers a reviving flooding rain to wash away the sins of the street and nourish renewed life.

This one was pretty difficult…

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Policeman Maremma

Policeman are the maremma of the suburban flock. Carefully surveying the environment to detect threats, eyes darting in multiple directions like a watchful chameleon. Sheep clueless to the imminent danger constantly covering them like a malicious blanket. Adrenaline running thick through the veins keep the policeman alert at all times. In a heartbeat the policeman will protect the flock from predators putting life on the line to serve their purpose.

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Ha! I had to look up what a maremma was.

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Yeah didnt cross my mind that people might not know hahaha, I deal with them on a daily

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The grey clouds wrap begin to suffocate such a vulnerable town. Droplets of suspicious behaviour percolate in the air and begin to prickle the exposed skin of society, a warning sign of incoming showers that could soak every corner with shame and scandal. The police are a raincoat that shields us from this torrent of misdeeds. They keep us safe and dry as silver bullets are shot from the sky, assaulting every inch of the pavement as it fills with puddled mirrors that beg for reflection. Tomorrow the air will clear and the sun will shine. Our soggy coats will once again be dry.


I agree very difficult, but you have done a good job, especially in the aspects of climate change that you have managed to map across.

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I like the metaphor a lot! I also was not familiar with the breed Maremma, you could have chosen “sheepdog” to generalise it up a level, but then again descriptive writing is all about being specific so maybe it is better for us to look it up. Are they a more commonly known dog in Australia? Our sheepdogs are all Collies!


Maremma are more like guard dogs for the herds, Fairly common on small scale farms, especially on chicken farms. Sheepdog and Cattledog are more herding breeds like collies, kelpies and blue heelers. I got two kelpies and they bark like nothing else, which is why a lot use collies cause they are quite.

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agreed this one was a challenge, I really like this line.

like how unaware we are of what really goes on and what we’re protected from.

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silver bullets shot from the sky. Awesome line. and the puddles being mirrors that beg for reflections thats gotta be used in a song somewhere on your journey!

One thing that is really neat hear is that some police wear “raincoats” in the form of bullet-proof vests. That image kept coming to mind. So it is almost like an image within an image. They wear protective coats so that they become our protective coats. My favorite line is the droplets of suspicious behavior pricking society’s skin. Really well done.

I like that you use the additional image of chameleon. That is really neat. They are the guard dogs whose eyes are all over the place like a chameleon. That is super great imagery. Then, the laying their life down to protect the flock is really powerful.

The policeman has bearish instincts, always alert, protective, and on guard.
Like a mother bear fiercely defending her cubs, they keep careful watch over every enemy that
lurks in the shadows, often shielding the population with their own bodies. They stare danger in the face, and attack with force when necessary to protect the most vulnerable. Armed with ammunition, strength and speed, they willingly chase down anyone that threatens safety.

(I recognize this is purely “tell vs show,” but I am struggling with how to make metaphors more sensory)

We all struggle there, that is why these exercises are so helpful. One thing that can help is trying to make similes into traditional metaphor. When you introduce “like” or “as”, it often becomes a little more “tell-y”. There are times when similes are great, but in these exercises, they can sometimes hurt. For instance, here you could say: The policeman instinctively stands alert and protective, willing to defend those in its care with ferocity. That somewhat sums up your first line, but without the “like” it makes us see the policeman as a “mother bear” rather than saying he is “like” a mother bear. Another thing you can do is use “tell” language to set it up. Though this is not the most preferred method, it can open up the image for you. Maybe telling us, “Each person in his jurisdiction is a cub in his litter”. That is “tell-y”, but it sets up using more precise and connected imagery because it puts us in that mindset. You can build on it from there, the cubs are naive, the mother is willing to sacrifice and take risks. The last line about “ammunition”, to me, takes away from the image because we typically don’t perceive bears with ammo. But, he could be armed with claws and a roar, or you could flip it and say he is armed with compassion for his litter. That kind of thing keeps the image a little more precise. The other thing to remember is to ask what all your senses are experiencing and then link that back to the source. While I am not sure what a mother bear smells like, I know they live in the woods. I could take that and apply it to the smell of the jurisdiction (whether a small town, big city, crowded street, dark alley, etc…). I know what a bear roar sounds like, so maybe you could tie that roar to the sound of him shouting freeze, the sound of a gun or a taser, or something like that. You could bring in tactile sense by comparing his uniform to fur. One fun image, for some reason, is every time I think of a bear, I picture a bear swiping a salmon swimming upstream (I guess that is from some nature show I watched or something). You could play around with that kind of thing too.

Sorry for the long comment, but since you said you were struggling, I wanted to offer you some things to consider. Overall, you did pretty well here, and you will continue to grow and develop.

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it really helps me to read your examples, so thank you. “Each person in his jurisdiction is a cub in his litter” I guess that’s a good example of something I ask myself, “is this something I should say?” I feel like I am always walking that line, trying to find balance between what is easily understood, and to a degree, realistic, and what is a more generous metaphor. I think I should read more on the how and why of metaphors so I can better understand the purpose as well as the freedoms and limitations, if any of that makes sense.
Again, as always, your feedback is very much appreciated. :slight_smile:

Honestly, practicing and finding out what works for you is better than any reading you can do. And, you’ll see in later exercises, when you start trying to put together song lines or poetry, a lot of this kind of falls by the wayside. BUT it stays with you and you start questioning whether you could do something different to draw the listener in. And yeah, that example of “telling” that the people are the cubs, that may be needed, or it may not. If you were to include that here, people would probably tell you is was too telly. But it puts you in that mindset. It is also pretty difficult because you are time restricted in these exercises, so you don’t get to dive in. Maybe on the next exercise, try spending two or three minutes writing down the various senses you can reach with your source and target. Then step away and do something else for a bit. Then come back and spend the remaining seven or eight minutes crafting your writing. You are doing great and the struggle continues at every step. Doing this stuff enough kind of just places these tools in your subconscious for when you are working on a song. And hopefully, that makes for a cooler song. :slight_smile:

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He shields us from the unseen horrors threatening to burn our vision. Stalking gazes are blinded as he stands between us as he assures me my business is my own. Through the bustle of bumping elbows on overcrowded markets, he shades me in anonymity.

I think sunglasses are too specific in how they protect for my skill level to extrapolate it well.

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The first line is fantastic. A useful thing is to think about everything sunglasses would protect us from, such as glare or even dust and debris of street crime. something along those lines. UV could be interpreted as “The suns rays shot like bullets”. It’s a nice short piece and being specific means you can really focus in on the finer details of the source domain.

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