I may have sounded general in the title but my question is very specific. Recently I was writing a poem and I needed it to rhyme this way

Some will stand to watch you go down quick

But no one will follow you through thin and thick

It didn't seem right to me to change the order in the expression "through thick and thin". Is what I have done acceptable? Or should I stick to the right order?

closed as not constructive by FumbleFingers, tchrist, MetaEd, coleopterist, kiamlaluno Mar 16 '13 at 11:30

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    Poetry may very well have its own rules (or sometimes no rules) but if the idiom is very familiar, mixing it up can work and will still catch the eye of the reader, as your line did for me. I knew what was meant and that you switched "thick" and "thin" to force the rhyme. Maybe others with more knowledge or poetic talent can tell you why you should or shouldn't do that. – Kristina Lopez Mar 15 '13 at 20:02
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    @Kristina: Specific types of poetry (such as sonnets and haikus) do indeed have "rules", but the more general rule is that you can do what you like in poetry - non-standard grammar, orthography, etc., are often described as "poetic" for that very reason. – FumbleFingers Mar 15 '13 at 21:09
  • @FumbleFingers, good points. I love haikus just for the rigid rule. – Kristina Lopez Mar 15 '13 at 21:23
  • @Kristina: But I bet you don't always count the syllables! What if you read a haiku you really liked, then discovered later that it actually had 16 syllables instead of 17? Would you like it any the less? But I don't have to count or look up anything to know I don't much like OP's offering - I'm sure it's summat to do with not being metrically divided into iambs, trochees, spondees, anapests or dactyls, but I don't need to know "the rules" to feel that those lines don't do it for me. – FumbleFingers Mar 15 '13 at 21:32
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    @Kristina: But all the best Persian carpets include a deliberate imperfection. So perhaps by the time I finally write my 16 1/2 -syllable haiku, you'll be sufficiently enlightened to classify it as "perfect", within its own terms of engagement! – FumbleFingers Mar 15 '13 at 21:44