The accurate representation of the feelings, thoughts, moods, sights, ideas and a variety of emotions is a serious enigma which poets face. Their representations are about personal opinions that are in the mind. Without going into philosophical or logical depth, I call them the god within.
Language is inadequate to bring out the god within, because this god is intangible. In addition to a mastery over the language, communicators need special skills and movements of hands, raising of eyebrows, changing tones, shrugging of shoulders and other gestures. Still, communications are not fully accurate and are likely to be misunderstood. Verbosity does not help either. Communication becomes more difficult in poetry because it is a form of condensed expression.
Therefore, poets use symbols to represent the god within at a higher level and also to add beauty. They take the help of metaphors to represent the god within. Aristotle said that metaphor is the soul of poetry. Metaphor is a figure of speech that is used for implied comparison. I have used this device freely in my poetry, such as “sickles of bigotry,”1; “pilots of words”2; “snakes of personal migraines”3; “the albatross of intolerance”4; and “a pyramid of justice”5 to quote a few.
Symbol, a higher form of metaphor, comes from the Greek word sumbolon that means sign, mark and token. In Greek sumballein means to put together. Synonyms of symbolism include typology, metaphor and analogy. Symbolic poetry is visible expression of something that is invisible -- a marriage between abstraction and concrete. This device is used to express the hidden meaning veiled by the obvious meaning -- to express something that is abstract as tangible. This device is also used to express something that is tangible in another tangible way.