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Here is an excerpt from a poem:

"The chrysanthemum with its leaves will wither"

The poem in question uses the terms "chrysanthemum" and "leaves" to refer to two specific months. The chrysanthemum refers to September and leaves refer to August. The two months then refer to the names of two specific people. The term "wither" tells these two people that they are going to die.

My question is that, since chrysanthemum and leaves refer to months and people (both of which are proper nouns), outside of the poem (although in reference to the poem) would the terms chrysanthemum and leaves be capitalized, even though they are not in and of themselves proper nouns?

For example, if I were to describe this poem to someone, would I describe it as:

  1. The Chrysanthemum is September, and Leaves are August.

  2. The chrysanthemum is September, and leaves are August.

Thank you!

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    you should not change the orthography used in the original poem in regard to your interpretation, that's all i can say. It could be written with capital letters withint the poem itself in order to underline the assosiation. In that case you could write "The Chrysanthemum [sic] is a metaphor for September". – AverageGatsby Jan 27 '15 at 9:08
  • Which poem is this? Reference, please. – Brian Hitchcock Feb 26 '15 at 10:48
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Poem is not prosaic! So the interpretation ('describe this poem to someone') is highly subjective and can vary from person to person. Prose has to follow grammar, poetry need not.

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