Sylvia Plath's 1960 poem, "Metaphors," is a perplexing puzzle in which the reader must pay attention to its appropriate voice/sound, impeccable word choice and metaphorical language to find that Plath is actually exploring an ambivalence about pregnancy. One can argue that it's herself she speaks of due to her being pregnant with her first child at the time of this poem's composition. "Metaphors" states from the beginning that this poem itself is a riddle, and then uses several different metaphors as clues to help the reader solve it. Plath describes her pregnant self with images of big or round things, like an elephant, a huge house, and even a melon. She goes on to compare herself to a rising loaf of bread and a fat coin purse full of newly-minted money. Toward the end of Plath's puzzle, she conveys to the reader that she may be the hardworking "cow in calf" but not the important part of this equation (Plath 775). She then concludes that ultimately the damage is done, and she can't do anything about it. .
Reading "Metaphors" aloud is pleasing to the ear like any riddle, but there are also awkward moments that sound like they don't quite fit. From the beginning this poem seems playful in tone stating, "I'm a riddle in nine syllables," as if the poem itself is talking to its readers (Plath 775). Further inspection of the poem reveals the "I" is actually a person. By starting the poem in this kind of mysterious manner, this tells us the person sees themselves as a riddle. In other words, they are unsettled or searching for answers themselves. Once we as readers understand this poem is describing a state of pregnancy, we read the first line again and see Plath is unsettled. She uses these metaphors trying to find understanding in how she feels about what's going on with her and her body. Other lines containing alliteration and assonance add to the upbeat rhythm of this riddle, making it fun to read or listen to.