Organization theory and poetry: A not so elusive link by Naveed Yazdani , Hasan S. Murad and Rana Zamin Abbas (3)

Some specific examples from English poetry
Metaphoricity or symbolism of Yeats is occult in nature.
He uses metaphors of hound with one red ear, a white
deer with no horns, and an island in the sea to capture the Irish legendary characters. He also uses many metaphors to represent the Kabalistic traditions. The
metaphors of ‘Immortal Rose’ and the ‘seven lights’
capture Rosicrucian flower and the seven planets and
astral lights (William York Tindall as in Unterecker, 1963).
He also uses the metaphor of ‘Byzantium’, an imaginary
city where the entire culture is permeated with peace,
solace and holiness (O’Neill, 2004; Arkins, 1990). He
captures the zenith of Christian civilization through
‘Byzantium’ where the culture has reached its utopian
perfection and there is no harm committed against any by
the others. He employs the metaphor of ‘rose’ to convey
a sense of eternal love and beauty and also frequently
covey religiosity through the metaphors of ‘cross’, ‘bird’,
‘tree’, ‘moon’ and ‘sun’. At other times, he uses symbols
such as ‘dance’ (representing patterned movement and
joyous energy) and ‘wheel’ to represent civilization as it
passes through various stages and phases of the
unstoppable wheel of time. It is through rich symbols and
metaphors that he gives “dumb things voices and
bodiless things bodies” (Loizeaux, 2003).
Similarly Eliot’s use of metaphor of ‘air’ represents lofty
thoughts and of ‘earth’ which represents biological
progress of human life in his poem “The Dry Salvages”.
This poem is the metaphorical reflection of American
optimism in the sense that ‘dry drowners’ are transformed
as ‘salvagers’ (Hay, 1982). His famous poem “The
Wasteland”, metaphorically expresses the mood of Eliot’s
generation around the time of Great Depression of early
20th century and his own personal mood (Miller, 1978).
The metaphor of ‘wasteland’ is both ‘macro’ in the sense
that it reflects the aftermath and miseries of First World
War and ‘micro’ in reflecting the wasted and missed
opportunities of life at a personal level. Philip Larkin’s
poem “Church Going” uses going to church as a
metaphor of wisdom and nostalgia rather than a religious
practice. It was written in mid-20th century when the
practice of church going was fast receding. The following
lines metaphorically depict the societal conditions of his
The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door
I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence;
Reflect the place was not worth stopping for;
Yet stop I did: in fact I often do (Lall, 2005).
He uses many metaphors within the poem “Church
Going”. For example, the metaphor of ‘Irish sixpence’
reflects the worthlessness of Irish money as compared to
English money and the ‘dubious women’ reflects the
dwindling faith of populace in religion which is also a ray
of hope for many in those times (Zama, 2004). He goes
to church though it was not worth going, a typical
modernist stance, but he did go. This thought reflects that
going to church is used as a metaphor to keep alive a

The following lines from a brief poem entitled “Postmortem” is another example of how metaphors are used in poetry:

A cold corpse of a bread
On the platter,
And the knife tenderly
Going through its flesh,
To assuage
A hunger – 

(Organization theory and poetry: A not so elusive link by Naveed Yazdani, School of Professional Advancement, University of Management and Technology, Lahore. Pakistan. Hasan S. Murad, University of Management and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. and Rana Zamin Abbas, Organization Theory Center, University of Management and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan. / Accepted 15 September, 2011 African Journal of Business Management Vol. 6(1), pp. 7-13,11 January, 2012 / Available online at

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