Dead Horse, Pop Life Exhibition, Tate Modern, London.

The definition of a cliché that I have learned is an "overused metaphor." Clichés are clichés for a reason, they work. If they didn't adequately express a concept, they wouldn't be overused. In general, one should avoid the use of clichés in poetry, because the poet should develop his or her own imagery and comparisons. That said, my favorite cliché is "No use in flogging a dead horse." According to Wikipedia, this means "a particular request or line of conversation is already foreclosed or otherwise resolved, and any attempt to continue it is futile; or that to continue in any endeavour (physical, mental, etc.) is a waste of time as the outcome is already decided." One reason it is a favorite cliché is because in the early days of the Internet, I remember this phrase, or alternatively beating a dead horse, turning up in FAQs, or Frequently Asked Questions, of bulletin boards and forums, and it appealed to me then for its vivid accuracy.

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