Cliche Thinking Cliches

I’ve noticed I use many of the same images/similes/metaphors in my poems over the years. Can one plagiarize oneself? Are there personal clichés, as there are communal ones?  When do the words you use become your own? I’m not really asking for answers to these questions. They are ideas I have visited before, therefore becoming ironic considering the questions. Don’t all writers have themes they return to again and again, like old dogs digging in familiar ground hoping to find that one bone that still has a bit of flesh hanging on it? I guess I am just feeling the angst of “make it new,” but more on a personal level, than to reshape the world. Of course, Pound in that phrase did not mean create something from whole cloth; I have always taken it to mean to make the ideas of centuries into meaningful constructs for the time we are living in now. There is nothing completely new: every atom of me is an atom of you is not that far off from Thales’ everything is water, or George Harrison’s life flows on within you and without you.
            I wonder if we use images/similes/metaphors as patterns (after all the brain is a pattern seeking organ), in order to create a familiar order in the chaos of our personal universes.  Millions of epistemes in constant flux and inter-communication create the illusion of an ontic reality: so we function as if there is a ground we all walk upon. Doesn’t that then create a common ground? Even if the commonality is allusive and illusive? I suppose what this jibber-jabber brings me back around to is that we all need to examine the clichés/images/similes/metaphors we employ and imbibe in as a way to see into how we are controlled by our communal and personal languages. Not that we can ever be free from the constructs, but perhaps we can make them new; take them to a tailor to better fit our current shapes.  And by we, I of course, mean I. Another personal cliché I employ: to conflate all pronouns into myself.

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