An author uses sensory images in a literary piece to appeal to one or more of the reader’s five senses.
Sara Teasdale uses imagery in her poem “There Will Come Soft Rains” to describe the sights and sounds of spring. Although her poem is set during war time, the imagery emphasizes that spring will arrive despite the fighting and devastation occurring when she wrote the poem.
In the first stanza, Teasdale appeals to the sense of smell by explaining the spring rain will arrive, bringing with it the familiar smell of wet ground. With her description of the sound of the swallows, she calls on the auditory sense.
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
She continues with the sound imagery in the second stanza when describing how the frogs sing at night. The second line of this stanza appeals to the sense of sight with its image of the flowering fruit trees.
And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,
In the third stanza, she highlights both sight and sound sensory images with her description of the robins. The reader can see the robin’s red breast and hear robins singing.
Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;