‘There are certain words a poem should never use.’
‘Hmm…’ I started to make a list of the usual suspects: very, many, really, magic, fluffy, rainbow, always, invisible –
‘Yes. Apparently shard is verboten. And,’ raising an eyebrow and tilting her head slightly, ‘you write about the moon at your own peril.’
‘Chartreuse, pus, and white are on the black list, too.’
‘Boiled cabbages, the Queen of Hearts, and cats will blow your cover in the first stanza. Those in the know will know that you aren’t.’
‘Bah!’ I snort, breaking two poetry principles at one go, with an unword dressed up by a pretentious speech tag, ‘Rules are made to be broken. That’s my poetic license.’
‘Cliché,’ she tutts, as I wade into dangerous waters.
‘No, no, no. Language is delicate but malleable. Clear, not crystalline. It absorbs, reflects, transmits. It is a fluid that holds its shape over centuries, filtering colours, casting perceptions across the nave of a cathedral. It can be sharp. When broken, it cuts deep. It can be melted, molded, spun, blown into impossible intricacies. Shatters if dropped. Keeps out the wind and lets in the light.’