In literature, a “conceit” is an elaborate or strained metaphor, an extended comparison between two strikingly different things.
In the early years he hardly noticed the wind, so busy was he envisioning grandiloquent conceits, affixing motifs to refrains in lofty metaphoric spires precisely balanced (of course) through counter-conflicts, allusions thickly slathered in a shimmering façade. But the steady windstream ripped at his allusions like cheap siding, rattled his tenuous metaphors until they teetered – and collapsed.
So he retrenched: a framework, simply plotted, comprised of concrete images, stanzas unadorned, very little theme save longevity. His workmanship was systematic, slow, yet the wind worked loose his phrasing, sent clauses, couplets scattering across the plain.
Panicked – lesser time, the wind still strong – he tried to rig up something simple – anchored lattice of barest phrases, roughed-in rhymes – tight, over-knotted – against the ceaseless tow – wound-up webwork that caught, like a parachute, and sailed away.
He knew he, soon, would follow.
And so his final years he sat, and sighed, and offered to the wind, in open palm, word after savored word, admiring their flap and flutter as they danced into the void.
copyright © 2004, michael w. hobson