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Can you write a love poem by showing and not telling and only describing the landscape? I am thinking you need to make it allegorical, but without mentioning animals and humans and clothes, etc, just describing the landscape, I am thinking this is impossible, so what are some ways this is done most of the time and is it even possible to do this with just the landscape? I am wondering if show don't tell means something different in poetry.

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  • Regardless of what allegory you want to make of it, the same "show, don't tell" applies. Don't say the "landscape" has "nice hills", but describe what makes them nice. But if it's a love poem, I'd avoid making it too much about physical features of the landscape...
    – towr
    Feb 4 at 7:10
  • Ever listened to the lyrics of a national anthem? Pretty much JUST allegorical love of the landscape.
    – wetcircuit
    Feb 4 at 12:02
  • @wetcircuit Sweden maybe... but not sure about others
    – NofP
    Feb 4 at 15:31

1 Answer 1

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No.

The meaning of show don't tell is independent of composition type.

Writing a poem about love as an allegory is a composition type. How to write the allegory itself is a matter of showing vs telling.

Telling1:

These hills are nice.
The sun loves them
and wakes them up
every morning with light,
caressing their tops,
warming their body.

Vs

showing1:

With a slow,
timid pace, ​
the sun's
morning hand
crawls from leaf 
to leaf, peeks
between the branches
and brushes away the dew
from the drowsy tops
of these sleepy hills.

1: Disclaimer -- I am no poet. These are crude illustrative examples.

Same allegory, just a different way of composing it. The allegory meaning is that of waking up next to the loved one.

In the telling example, we 'tell' what there is to know: the sun wakes up and cuddles with the hills.

In the showing example, we 'show' the waking up process, what it entails. In this case, showing is about conveying the same image through the feelings, the speed and the sensations involved.

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