From my grammar books I've learned that if you introduce some indefinite object in some definite place, you do it by using the structure "there is", but when I read literature I occasionally come across cases which violate this supposed rule. See the following examples:
There was a clutter of nearly empty glasses on the table next to the cashier.
On the table next to the cashier stood a clutter of nearly empty glasses.
- Are the meanings of the above sentences identical?
- Do both the sentences sound natural?
- And what is the rule which regulates when I can speak one way or the other?
If I try to make up some other sentences accordingly, I get:
There is ice on the lake.
On the lake is ice. (This seems unnatural to me)
There is a house on the knoll.
On the knoll is (or stands, or sits) a house. (I'm not sure if it's natural)