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avalanche of time

by Hijinks

the howling winds of time

       chip ice from the glacier

                     sliding down the mountainside

                                                 hesitantly, then with speed


                                   picking up the momentum of confidence and

                                                                            avalanching into the cool ocean

                                                                  bobbing on waves that glint with

                                                           freezing arctic sunlight


                                                 the pulling tides of time

                                                                  tug the ice floe out

                                                                                          towards the wide blue ocean


                         and lost in the moment of adventure

                                                                           the brilliant light is soft 

                                                                                     relentless currents are irresistible


                                                                                    the melting rays of time

                                                                                             first warming, then burning

                                                                         sinking the ice into the depths

                                               of the dark and bottomless waters


                                                        if cloud-carpeted mountain peaks were day 

                           frigid cavernous ocean floor is night

                               refreshing sunlit waters become suffocating

              ocean currents are all-consuming


                          passing breaths of invaluable time

                                          were ungraciously devoured

                and they've disappeared without a trace

dissolving into the cold water.



A/N Lack of capitalization and punctuation is purposeful. However if you do have any input about how effective/ineffective you found those stylistic choices to be, I'd love to hear what you think!

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1222 Reviews

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Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:26 am
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alliyah wrote a review...

Hey there whatchamacallit! I saw this when you first posted, loved the way the formatting went just nicely with the content, and thought I'd stop by for a review now for Team Tortoise.

I interpreted the poem to be pretty literal - the speaker is observing that the avalanches around them - snow melting and dropping into water. From a more metaphorical level - the avalanches as the title suggests are a metaphor for how time can pass; first slowly trickling by and then before you notice it's gone, and all too quickly.

The pairing of words you used really aided in the pacing of the piece - because there were moments you slowed down to be descriptive and then moments you sped the poem up by describing movement to keep the reader interested but also mimic the pace of the avalanche melting.

One critique I had is that in an avalanche I think there's normally a pretty definitive "moment" where everything spirals out of control; in the poem the arc of narrative (& the formatting) seemed like a steady descent -> I think it would have been more dramatic if you had mad a more dramatic formatting and word choice with something to indicate a moment of serious change in what's happening. You could use dashes, or make the formatting angle more steep at that point so that the reader really feels the poem is speeding up. As it is, the moment of "change" you currently have is this line, " hesitantly, then with speed" where there's not even a line break to indicate the switch from slow to fast. I would have maybe said it like this:

[long normal line]
.... [really long really normal line]
........[soft, sleepy, normal line]
............................[soft, sleepy normal slow line,]
.......................................[then -- dramatic dash dash]!!
..............................[-stanza break-]
.............[es so
.......[you almost
..[have time
.[for line-

^ not with any of those words obviously! But it might be interesting to play around a bit more with the line breaks and line length and slope of your poem's formatting to see if you can portray the speed of avalanches a bit more to add to the drama. :)

My second critique, is I think the metaphor from time to avalanches works, but I wish you did more with the time aspect - or even rooted the time conflict to something real and tangible. Poetry that talks about things "in theory" sometimes feels like it talks around the subject instead of about the subject, if you could get more specifically at what about time is like avalanches and maybe even bring in a concrete example or image of time passing that way I think it'd make the poem more impactful.

Last minor critique: you use "consuming" and "consumed" just two lines apart at the end, so I think I'd switch up one of them to avoid unnecessary repetition.

With those critiques aside, there was a lot to enjoy about this poem.

First I'm just going to say, YES I totally agree with the sentiment expressed in your author's note, I'm getting a bit sick of the idea that every poem must have capital letters and punctuation all over, or it's "grammatically incorrect" or a "typo" when that's simply not always the case.

In your poem I thought the usage of minimal capitalization helped me as a reader pay closer attention to the formatting and line breaks and made the poem feel like it was all one cohesive unit rather than something separated into chunks. Your usage of only using punctuation at the very end was terrific because it also allowed the poem to flow well and then the period at the end felt like a "snap of finality" at the end.

You've got some really nice language turns where you personify water -> "ocean currents are all-consuming" and also use some descriptors that I would expect like "adventure" and "confidence" I liked those little details because it gave the poem more voice and made it feel like a more imaginative description of what was happening. Despite describing mostly the same thing for quite a few lines, you find ways to diversify your descriptions to keep it interesting.

I'll also commend you on really staying in a singular imagery / language family so that the whole poem felt cohesive. You also really stayed on task to what the theme of the poem was, so it was easy to follow and I think every reader should be able to pretty easily follow that metaphor you're making.


Overall I wanted the poem to have a bit more punch with the actual meaning with the metaphor, so that it's not just a poem describing a metaphor, but it is an enjoyable poem to read and you've got a great sense of word choice and form. :)

Let me know if you had any questions about my review!

- alliyah


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7 Reviews

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Reviews: 7

Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:09 pm
Noobwriter88 wrote a review...

Hello! I really like this poem!

I love the meaning of the poem.I love the use of metaphors, and comparing time passing to glaciers melting (at least I think that is what the metaphor is).

I also loved the way the poem was structured, tho personally it is a bit harder to read because of it, but that's just my opinion.

I love nature, especially things involved with ice since that is my favorite element. The way you used the words to describe the feeling of the water, it makes me feel like I was actually there!

This poem is a joy to read and I'm glad you wrote it! I hope you write as many poems as you can until your heart is content! Thanks for the poem you shared with everyone!

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Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:36 pm
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Mageheart wrote a review...

Hey there, whatcha! I'm here to review your poem, as requested. :)

I usually read the entire poem before I start writing my review, but I wanted to take to give my first impressions on what I do know about it before actually starting to read it: the title and the formatting. The title definitely is intriguing; I've heard time be described in multiple ways, but an avalanche certainly isn't one of them. The formatting of your poem makes me even more interested. While it's not the perfect copy of an avalanche, it gives the feeling of one. I feel like it's the best way to convey a falling sensation.

Now, time to comment on the poem!

The imagery you chose wasn't what I anticipated, but I love it even more than what I had originally imagined. I associate avalanches with mudslides and cliff faces. A glacier was a much better choice, especially considering the concluding stanzas of the poem. I still can't get over the symbolism of time being consumed like a glacier is swallowed by the ocean.

My one critique is that the metaphor is a bit confusing at the beginning. By the end of the poem, I knew what its message was. But, when I first started reading the poem, it felt like you were just describing natural phenomena and attaching the concept of time to them. I'm not sure how you could clarify the poem, but that's the only flaw in it that I found. Your grammar is great, I love your stylistic choices, and the imagery was perfect.

(I was admittedly trying to read your poem and write this review while my brother was talking loudly the next room over, so I might have just been distracted. ^^")

I hope I see this poem in the literary spotlight soon!


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41 Reviews

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Reviews: 41

Fri Jun 05, 2020 12:01 pm
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Shadeflame wrote a review...

Hi whatcha! It's Shade here again to do a review.

I have to tell you first that I loved this poem. There was lots of imagery, and you could really imagine time as an iceberg, slowly floating away from you, and then melting. There were no issues with the grammar, from what I could see, and I loved the design of your poem. It really seemed to fit the theme of your poem.

At first, when I read this poem, I thought it was about someone mourning the loss of time. I still have no idea WHY I thought that, but let's just say it was due to lack of sleep.
Don't judge me.
When I reread it, it seemed to be describing a person's life. First the person/piece of ice leaves home and leaves to go out into the world.
Wow. That was really weird to write.
Then, the person/iceberg gets consumed by the world, first slowly, then faster and faster.
At the end of the poem, the person/iceberg dies, or finally melts away.

This is a great poem, like every poem of yours that I've ever read. Good job.
Keep writing!

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Fri Jun 05, 2020 12:14 am
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RememberTheAniur says...

I really love the way that you artfully placed the lines of poetry! The poem really creates a vivid picture. Although some of the words were spelled wrong, like "Floe" (Flow), the writing is beautiful.

I hope to read more of your amazing poetry!

Hijinks says...

Hello RememberTheAniur! Belated welcome to YWS! I hope you enjoy using the site (:
I'm glad you enjoyed the poem! When referring to ice floes, it is actually spelled with an "e", weirdly enough.

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Thu Jun 04, 2020 4:42 pm
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slothyyy wrote a review...

slothyyy finally doing their first review.

i will take in style choices, stanzas, and meaning.

first, the style choice is very delicate and it is shown with the capitalization. or the lack of it. it is flowy and pretty to the eye. i was caught by the way it moved. almost like a dance of words and powerful meaning.

second, stanzas are fine and nicely made up. it's even and stuff.

third, the meaning is kind of hidden in the swirls and twists. those take your eyes view so i had to search for it. i did find it and it is beautifully done.

i'll crawl into my hole now.

[sorry for my capitalization. my keyboard is broken.]

Hijinks says...

Thank you for the review slothyyy! And welcome to YWS - if you have any questions about the site, feel free to ask!

I think I have thankfully avoided being quoted.
— Lavvie