Member Rara Avis
I wondered how long it would take you to find this thread, Brad. Are you suggesting that "soul" is actually worse than "rose?"
Personally, I think you are vastly over-simplifying something that is far more complex. If "love" and "soul" are over-used words we should always avoid, then surely words like "I" and "you" are far more dangerous. Words are important, I'll grant you. In most cases, in the vast majority of cases, we want to use a concrete word, one that has the specific meaning we intend. And if that word doesn't exist then we weave together those that do, creating new meaning. Well, at least we try...
But sometimes that is not our intent. I wasn't making a joke when I compared "soul" to the personal pronoun "I." Because sometimes when I write I mean "I" and sometimes I don't. When I want you to see "Ron" in the context of "I" I will try to interject my own personality into a work - something to make the "I" more concrete. But sometimes I want you to substitute your own sense of being for the "I." I want you to become the character I'm writing about, to imagine yourself in that position, feeling those emotions. When that is my intent, I certainly don't want to make "I" too concrete and risk destroying the illusion.
I can't tell you what a "soul" is, but I can tell you what it means to me. It might take me a few thousand poems, but I think I could even do it fairly precisely. Sometimes, though, that's not my intent. Sometimes I want to purposefully use a less concrete word and, in doing so, I'm asking you to substitute your own meaning into the word. Now, I would certainly never do that if I was talking about a "soul," any more than I would use a vague "I" if my subject was Ron. My subject has to be concrete. But "soul" may be only a qualifier within the context of my work. In which case, your definition is as valid (and often more useful) than mine.
Sometimes a well-worn set of boots will get you where you want to go - as long as you don't try to hike too far in them. Should you throw away the boots just because they've been used? Or should you keep them handy, recognize their limitations (and strengths) - and maybe invest in a new pair, just in case?