9 examples of repetition in poetry

It is a literary device used to secure emphasis in the repetition of words, phrases, lines or sentences. It is used to develop feeling or idea and to create rhythm and sense of urgency in a sentence. Here the reader will find, definition of repetition and 9 examples of repetition in poetry.


Originated from the old French word ‘repeticion’ and was firstly used in late 15th century.


It is a literary device used to secure emphasis in the repetition of words, phrases, lines or sentences. It is used to develop feeling or idea and to create rhythm and sense of urgency in a sentence. Repeating words in a sentence not only make the words effective but also to make prominent the whole statement.

It is a useful tool of the writer to make understand his reader about the importance of statement and to develop a lasting effect upon their minds. Readers become able to understand the true spirit of the statement which writers intend to make them know.

Examples of Repetition:

  1. Hatred was spreading everywhere
    Blood was being sailed everywhere
    Wars were breaking out everywhere

In the above lines, the word ‘everywhere’ has been used in order to create rhythm and has been repeated in the lines to create sense of pattern or form.

  1. Politician declared that we will fight
    for come what may, we will fight on
    all front, we will fight for a thousand’s year.

Here the words, ‘we will fight’ have been used repeatedly with the variation of sound in order to create emphasis.

  1. If you have decided that you will go there,
    You will go there.

The words, ‘you will go there’ are showing the intention of someone which has been repeated to create emphasis.

Repetition in Poetry:

Poems have a musical quality to them. A tool to create rhythm and sound in their poem is by using repetition. Here the following poems can best describe the repetition.

“Click Beetle” by Mary Ann Hoberman

Click beetle
Clack beetle
Snap-jack black beetle
Glint glitter glare beetle
Pin it in your hair beetle
Tack it to your shawl beetle
Wear it at the ball beetle
Shine shimmer spark beetle
Glisten in the dark beetle
Listen to it crack beetle
Click beetle
Clack beetle

In this poem, the repetition of word ‘beetle’ is creating rhythm affect in the poem and it has sense of pattern and form of work. The variation of sound ‘beetle’ also indicates his importance.

“I am Car Sick”

I am car sick.
Open a window.
I am car sick
Take this pill.
I am car sick
Rest your eyes.
I am car sick
Shhh. Be still.
I am car sick.
Drink some ginger ale.
I am car sick.
Can you try to wait?
I am car sick.
Now we are almost there.
I feel better.
Darn! too late.

Repetition of word sometimes gives an idea or it is used to emphasize upon a particular point. Here in this poem, the repeated words ‘I’m car sick’ is actually for the writer who is ‘car sick’.

“Essay on Milton” by Macaulay Culkin

But there are a few characters which have stood the closest scrutiny and the severest tests, which have been tried in the furnace and have proved pure, which have been weighed in the balance and have not been found wanting, which have been declared sterling by the general consent of mankind, and which are visibly stamped with the image and superscription of the Most High.

Here the use of above highlighted words make the sense of repetition.

“The Rime of Ancient Mariner” by (S.T. Coleridge)

Alone, alone, all all, alone,
Alone on a wide, wide sea.

‘Coleridge’ has employed the device of repetition skillfully in order to stress the atmosphere of loneliness.

Lycidas by John Milton

For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime,
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his pe

“Lesiure” by (W.H. Davies)

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

Here in the above poem, the use of word ‘no time’ has been again and again used which is creating rhythmic effect in a poem. This repetition is also creating sense that writer is emphasizing upon the importance of time.

Hoarding by McGough

“all too busy boarding
Thirty year old numbskull
With a change of dirty coats
Every single day gets porridge
But never gets his oats

all too busy boarding
the xmas merry-go-round

old lady sits by the firegrate
knitting a pudding with twine
dreams of brandy sauce
drinks methylated wine

all too busy boarding
the xmas merry-go-round

hoarding, hoarding, hoarding.

How do you Like to Swing?

How do you like to swing?
Straight up and straight down?
In a circle, round and round?
Near the sky or near the ground?
On your bally? On your seat?
Do you ask for a push?
Do you use your own feet?
Now do you like to swing?
Wide-eyed or dreaming?
Do you sometimes sing a song?
Do you pump for just live minutes?
Could you swing the whole day long?

Here in the above lines, the words ‘do you like to swing’ have been again and again used. The writer actually by telling the modes to his reader’s get them know that how they can swing.

Thackeray on Swift

“These are my brains, with these, I will titles and compete with fortune. These are my bullets; these I will turn into gold”.

Repetition V. Refrain

When the poet repeats any word, phrase line or sentence; to make emphasize is called repetition.

‘Refrain’ is the repetition of one or more words, phrases or lines at intervals in a poem or song. Sometimes, it is used to make a break between stanza of the poem.

Further Reading

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