Poetic Forms Winner: Phrase Manipulation


Hi everyone, if you missed the post on Phrase Manipulation, why not check it out now?

This has to have been one of my favourite weeks and it was great to see so many people having a go at an unconventional form! What I think is really fun about phrase manipulation is that it makes you concentrate really carefully on word choice because if you don’t get those words right at the beginning, it gets increasingly difficult to create interesting and new meanings from them. It also adds an extra emphasis to line breaks and word order and you can see what happens if you put the same words together in different ways so that moonlit pool can become pool moonlit.

The poem I’ve chosen to feature today is Niteowl’s and what I loved about her writing was how natural it felt and how she managed to make the words work for her. Let’s take a look:



Under the moonlight,
we hid from
the storms.

Storms hid
the moon from us
under the light.

We hid light
from the moon
under the storms.

We the storms
hid from light
under the moon.

Light the storms
from the moon
hiding under us.

The storms
under the moonlight
hid from us.

The first stanza has a beautiful simplicity but still manages to give a setting, a danger to escape from and the use of ‘we’ is very effective in engaging with the readers. Then in the second stanza, the break down of moonlight into two separate words allows for more flexibility and really helps in avoiding the repetitiveness which is the danger of this form. My favourite phrase in definitely ‘light the storms’ – it has an unusual quality and crates a really strong image, emphasising the lightning and the almost supernatural quality to this poem – the ambivalent we who at one moment are hiding from the storms and another sheltering the moon from them.

The last thing I like about this poem is that it comes full circle and at the end the ‘we’ have become empowered and now the storms hide from them. It’s a nicely uplifting poem and works well with the form – well done Niteowl!


If there are any forms you would like to suggest for the weeks to come, please feel free to reply below. I haven’t actually chosen next week’s yet so maybe you could influence my decision!

** Image owned by Enokson at Flickr.


Heather, who goes by Rydia on YWS, has long been an aspiring author. In the early days of her life she attached herself to poetry and would curl up on the playground bench to scrawl down lines of forgotten virtue. Or, more likely, little virtue at all. At the very old age of 11, she joined The Young Writers Club and progressed into the realms of roleplay. Here she constructed characters to fight off dragons or rally to their allies' aid with healing spells; a joint love of gaming heavily influenced this fondness of adventure storybooks. A few more years went by before Heather became a serious novelist and she still considers poetry to be her favourite media for getting those thoughts down on paper. Outside of writing her loves include puzzle books, strategy/ fantasy games, movies, swimming, skiing (when she actually has money), crafty things, baking, food in general, fun pranks and anything involving snow.

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2 Responses

  1. Hannah says:

    Wow! I was surprised when she broke up the word moonlight — it was cool to start it whole like that, then work with the pieces.

    The one thing that’s really hard to do with this poem is to get forward movement. Most of the manipulation poems I see like this seem to describe the same scene over and over from different angles, which is okay! And sometimes refreshing, but I wonder what words or kinds of words would best help achieve forward movement within this form.

    • Niteowl says:

      I think words that can be multiple parts of speech work well, like light (can be noun/verb/adjective). In fact, this just made me realize…”We mooned the storms/from under the hidden light” would’ve been an interesting addition. 😛

      But yeah, I think it’s good to play with words that have multiple meanings, and that can move the poem forward. Like maybe you have a light candles that lights up and then its light burns out.

      Thanks for the feature! 🙂

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