A trained seal is a nice picture of human verbal thought. I guess everyone has a graphic accompaniment to that phrase. A seal which is on a ball and managing to keep his balance. If this were not a metaphor one would feel repelled by the connotations of the brutality (which confined animals, in the zoo or circus, suffer necessarily by virtue of their entrapment if nothing else) this image would bring up. But we are talking of something besides seals, we are talking about the human intellect and I like this picture of it. Wobbling here, weaving there, so warbles mechanical mentation when it spills forth from the mouth (or keyboard). The interesting part of human speech is that, just as the seal can stay upright, there is conceivably some sense which others may agree is the import of the words being spoken. All the while what is really happening is at a basic glandular level and any resemblance to actual denotative substance is accidental.
And the ball. What could the ball be in this metaphor? Maybe the secret. Oh yes there really is a secret. It is just not hidden away. Skip the purloined letter, what about a purloined universe. By not saying more I am not being coy. Anyone can study the words of Jan Cox on his website, jancox.com., and learn far more than by reading my words.