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Grade 8 Wheeler Middle School English

Lines & Rhymes: Phrase Poem

The phrase poem. One way of presenting impressions from your observations is to create a "phrase poem." These are lines of description about a single scene in which emphasis is on the words chosen, not upon the writing of complete sentences.

In writing a phrase poem, the wrlter looks first for something central and important to the scene. Each "thing" wou1d be a noun. Then the writer decides what verb particip1e would best describe the action or condition of the noun.

When these main elements are captured. the writer then returns to add descriptive words and phrases. Adjectives can be added (sleek, slab-sidded cars)whizzing royal, or adverbs (whizzing royally) or other descriptive word groups (past a shivering newsboy on the windy corner). Because the writer of the phrase poem need not worry about having complete sentences, jiust the right word can be found to express the perceptions.

Here is an example one boy wrote about a peaceful Michigan scene by a pier in Lake Michigan:

Waves quietly rolling toward the shore
The sun reflecting on the lake, glistening and glittering
Boats bobbing lazily up and down the blue waters
Men hunched patiently over strings and poles
Seagulls perching in wait for fishing boats to return
Their cries like mournful whimpering
Silvery-metal smokestacks resembling brushes painting        the sky a fluffy gray
A radio tower scratching the hazy sky with a flashing red tip

The boy first listed the things he saw, then searched for verb participles to describe their condition or action. Then he chose other phrases and words to modify his central idea.

figures of speech