Ah Whistle Stop, you're right 'there are no rules'
I was at a songwriter's workshop one time and they said DON'T USE CLICHES (Their emphasis not mine). I thought 'Well there goes Country Music'. And I got to thinking about cliches.
The more I thought about it the more I concluded that you SHOULD use Cliches. For a few reasons.
1. They only exist because people like them.
2. They say you have to hear a song several times before you remember one line of it, but if you use a cliche your song will have instant recognition.
3. English professors won't like them but do you wan't to limit your audience to English Professors? Or do you want to appeal to ordinary folk?
So I started using cliches and found that people started remembering my songs and requesting those with cliches.
If you can't think of a cliche that fits your current song then make one up. Yes, you can do that believe it or not, (Amos did with "When your pickle glows at night") sort of an instant cliche, just get a catchy phrase and repeat it many times, 'till it's fixed in the listener's mind.
I like to think of different techniques as 'tools' rather than 'rules'. Not every tool will be appropriate for every song.