Bad Words for Poems

One of the first things I saw yesterday morning was the condensation trail of an airliner in the sky. At 6.45am the sky was clear and still tinged pink with the sunrise.

Later in the day, while we were between the seals and the chips, I saw more contrails. By that time the sky was bright blue, and seemed huge.

Suddenly my brain went into alliteration mode, with “cerulean” and “cicatrice”, following with “ceiling “. I could have gone with “sky” and “scar” but where’s the fun in that?

Cerulean isn’t a word you see every day, though after consulting Wikipedia I see it gets used more times than I think. Despite this I’m pretty sure that it hasn’t been used seriously since 1895.

I once read that the word shard should never be used in poetry, and I’ve searched the internet to check where I read it. I can’t find the original, but I found this list when I was searching.  Cerulean isn’t on it, but I think it should be.

Same goes for cicatrice. Their heyday was in the 1920s when they were often to be found on the faces of sinister foreign henchmen. Although Ian Fleming did his best to keep them going the sinister foreign henchman had all but died out by the 1960s, and taken the cicatrice with them.

I think I’m safe with ceiling. It’s not the most poetic word but I’m tempted go have a go at rhyming it with “sealing”.

With cerulean, cicatrice and ceiling, followed with sky, scar and sealing I’m well on my way to what could be a spectacularly bad poem.

Now all I need is a poetry competition along the lines of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

26 thoughts on “Bad Words for Poems

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  3. Laurie Graves

    cerulean is a beautiful color and a beautiful word that should be used more often. I had never come across cicatrice, and so today I learned something new. Many thanks!

    1. quercuscommunity

      Good, that means the language is in good hands. The French, I believe, have a list of words not allowed in literature, but the Spanish have a list of endangered words they want to see used. I prefer the Spanish approach. 🙂

  4. jfwknifton

    Tolkien apparently thought that the most wonderfully flowing phrase in English was “cellar door” and other languages have their “greatest hit” sentences apparently.

  5. jodierichelle

    As an SAT tutor and mother of a former art student, I know cerulean. Cicatrice, though – I’ve never heard of – so thanks for the definition. I looked up the bad fiction contest and got lost in it. That’s some fun stuff.


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