Jude Goodwin: “Words to never use in a poem”

Jude Goodwin’s poem, “Words to never use in a poem,” had me from the start. Her delicious use of language, the playful metaphors that shimmered and danced throughout this exquisite poem, dazzled me andmade me laugh out loud. “I was trying to write a ghazal/ about rain and you said “like that’s/ never been written about before.” This is a poem that starts out great and gets even better with each reading.

— Alexis Rhone Fancher, Poetry Editor of Cultural Weekly, poetry prize judge


Words to never use in a poem

Diamonds and in particular, when next to the word like
because there must be a better way
to describe stars and while we’re at it
let’s add glitter and twinkle and glisten
and shimmer to words that should never
be used in a poem or bolt
because the only thing that truly bolts
is a horse or fork lightning and part of me
would like to add bone to the list
because maybe  I’ve used it myself
so many times since the day I learned
birds have hollow bones
or first felt a tiny heart
thrumming against its little bone cage
and today I was trying to write a ghazal
about rain and you said “like that’s
never been written about before.” Ah rain
encased in brain and train I’ll have to restrain
myself from faking it. Rain. And pool
because nothing can pool unless it’s flat
gravity is bossy that way. Rain will pool
on the sill outside your window
and in the morning if the clouds let go
of the sun, even if only for a few moments
and if there is a tender wind
the glitter of it might pull you from your desk
to the glass and the garden
will have come alive, red petunias and purple
begonias moving with their hands in the air,
and the lawns covered
with diamonds.

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