Poetry can be like a recipe. If you were making a cake, you would first mix the dry ingredients together; then you would cream butter and sugar together, then add eggs, then stir the dry ingredients in. Why wouldn't you just drop all of the ingredients into a big bowl at the same time and mix? You'd end up with a lumpy mess, and no one wants a cake, or a poem, to be a lumpy mess. Word order matters—sometimes for clarity of meaning (a solo guitar isn't the same as a guitar solo) and sometimes for effect ("a dying man" is roughly the same as "a man, dying," but the effect of the word order matters). There are many different ways to order words and communicate approximately the same meaning, so readers should always question why poets have chosen a particular order, whether the choice is conventional or just the opposite.

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