12 of the Best Poems with Alliteration 

On this list, readers can explore twelve poems that utilize alliteration in different ways. These range in subject, period, and style, but each makes use of alliteration in an effective way. 

12 of the Best Poems with Alliteration Visual Representation

From Edgar Allan Poe to Carol Ann Duffy and Siegfried Sassoon, poets use alliteration from every period, country, stylistic grouping, and poetic movement. But, the reason for using this common literary device varies. Some of these authors might want to enhance the rhythm of a specific line or use alliteration to draw attention to a specific image.

Best Poems with Alliteration 



Icarus by Edward Field 

In ‘Icarus,’ Field explores the myth of Icarus and places the story in a new, contemporary context. Throughout, the poet also demonstrates skillful examples of alliteration. For example, consider these lines: 

Only the feathers floating around the hat

Showed that anything more spectacular had occurred

Here, the poet uses the “f” sound twice in “feathers floating” and the “s” sound (which can also be considered an example of sibilance) in “Showed” and “spectacular.” “Hat” and “had” is one further example of alliteration in these two lines. 

Read more Edward Field poems

The Colossus by Sylvia Plath

This moving poem inspired by Plath’s relationship with her father uses alliteration and numerous images to depict her father as a fallen statue and her as his keeper. For example:

Scaling little ladders with glue pots and pails of lysol

I crawl like an ant in mourning

Over the weedy acres of your brow

Here, Plath uses alliteration with “little ladders” and “pots and pails.” Readers might also note the use of consonance with “lysol” and “like.” 

Explore more Sylvia Plath poems

Astrophobos by H. P. Lovecraft

This unique Lovecraft poem demonstrates the author’s skill with allusion and the use of mythological images. It also includes a few good examples of alliteration. For instance, the second stanza which reads: 

Mystic waves of beauty blended

With the gorgeous golden rays;

Phantasies of bliss descended

In a myrrh’d Elysian haze;

And in lyre-born chords extended

Harmonies of Lydian lays.

Here, Lovecraft creates examples of alliteration with “beauty blended,” “gorgeous golden,” “lyre-born” and “Lydian lays.” 

Discover more H.P. Lovecraft poems

The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe

The Bells’ is a well-known example of alliteration within Edgar Allan Poe’s work. Throughout, the poet depicts the various sounds bells make and the events they symbolize. Here are a few of the best lines:

Hear the sledges with the bells—

                 Silver bells!

What a world of merriment their melody foretells!

        How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,

           In the icy air of night!

Poe uses the “b” in “bells” numerous times throughout this poem. Within these first lines, he also repeats “tinkle” and uses alliteration with “merriment” and “melody.” 

Read more Edgar Allan Poe poems

By night we linger’d on the lawn by Alfred Lord Tennyson

‘By night we linger’d on the lawn’ is a famous excerpt from Tennyson’s much longer ‘In Memoriam A.H.H.’ It uses alliteration within the following lines: 

And calm that let the tapers burn 

Unwavering: not a cricket chirr’d: 

The brook alone far-off was heard, 

And on the board the fluttering urn: 

Explore more Alfred Lord Tennyson poems

The Armadillo by Elizabeth Bishop

‘The Armadillo’ demonstrates alliteration in the following lines: 

Too pretty, dreamlike mimicry!

O falling fire and piercing cry

and panic, and a weak mailed fist

clenched ignorant against the sky!

Readers can note Bishop’s use of “falling fire,” “piercing,” and “panic” as well as “mimicry” and “mailed” in this final stanza of ‘The Armadillo.’ 

Discover more Elizabeth Bishop poems

Sick by Shel Silverstein 

This well-loved children’s poem contains numerous examples of alliteration. The use of alliteration is fairly common in poems for young readers. Authors use it to make interesting sounding lines and interesting lines to read that should keep a child’s attention. For example: 

My hip hurts when I move my chin,

My belly button’s caving in,

My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,

My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.

Explore more Shel Silverstein poems

Preference by Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Preference’ contains a few great examples of alliteration. For example: 

Not in scorn do I reprove thee,

Not in pride thy vows I waive,

But, believe, I could not love thee,

Wert thou prince, and I a slave.

These, then, are thine oaths of passion?

This, thy tenderness for me?

Judged, even, by thine own confession,

Thou art steeped in perfidy.

In the first stanza of the poem, readers can find “pride,” “prince,” “passion,” and “perfidy” as great examples of alliteration, as well as “These, then,” and “thing” in line five of this stanza. This is followed by “This,” “tenderness,” and “thine” in lines six and seven. 

Read more Charlotte Brontë poems

Birches by Robert Frost

Birches’ is one of Frost’s best-known poems and one of his best examples of alliteration as a literary device. Here are a few of the most applicable lines: 

As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored

As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.

Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells

Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—

Here, some of the examples include “cracks” and “crazes” and “Soon” and “sun’s.” 

Explore more Robert Frost poems

Winter Snow by Sara Teasdale 

In ‘Winter Snow,’ readers can spot a few effective examples of alliteration. Consider these lines from stanza three: 

From windows in my father’s house,

 Dreaming my dreams on winter nights,

I watched Orion as a girl

 Above another city’s lights.

Here, Teasdale uses “Dreaming” and “dreams” in order to enhance the rhythm of the poem. It also adds to the overall atmosphere of this well-known piece. 

Discover more Sara Teasdale poems

The Death Bed by Siegfried Sassoon

In the seven-stanza poem ‘The Death Bed’, there are a few interesting examples of alliteration readers might note. While Sassoon speaks about the suffering and eventual peaceful death of a soldier mortally wounded in World War I, he also uses alliteration skillfully. For example: 

Water—calm, sliding green above the weir;

Water—a sky-lit alley for his boat, 

Bird-voiced, and bordered with reflected flowers

And shaken hues of summer: drifting down, 

He dipped contented oars, and sighed, and slept.

Read more Siegfried Sassoon poems

Mrs. Midas by Carol Ann Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Mrs. Midas’ is an incredibly creative poem that uses a variety of literary devices. These include alliteration, allusion, and imagery. Below are a few lines that contain examples of alliteration: 

He toyed with his spoon, then mine, then with the knives, the forks.

He asked where was the wine. I poured with a shaking hand,

a fragrant, bone-dry white from Italy, then watched

as he picked up the glass, goblet, golden chalice, drank.

Discover more Carol Ann Duffy poems

FAQs 

Why do poets use alliteration? 

Poets use alliteration for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, they use it in order to create rhythm within lines of verse. This can be incredibly important if a poem is written in free verse. Additionally, they can use it in order to draw attention to a specific image. 

What is alliteration?

Alliteration is the repetition of the same consonant sound at the beginning of multiple words. The words must make the same sound, not just start with the same letter or letters. 

How to write a poem with alliteration? 

To write a poem that uses alliteration, the only thing a writer has to do is repeat words that start with the same consonant sound. For example, “cat” and “caught” or “wish” and “want.” Anytime this occurs, you have an example of alliteration. 

What is an example of a poem that uses alliteration? 

‘The Raven’ by Edgar Allan Poe is one of the best-known examples of alliteration in poetry. Throughout, the poet uses repetition in multiple forms to create a haunting rhythm and atmosphere. For example, “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, / Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore / While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping.” 

Is consonance the same as alliteration?

No, while both depend on the repetition of consonant sounds, consonance can be found within words, not just in their initial sounds. For example, the “t” sound in these lines from ‘The Tyger’ by William Blake: “And what shoulder, & what art, / Could twist the sinews of thy heart? / And when thy heart began to beat, / What dread hand? & what dread feet?”

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12 of the Best Poems with Alliteration Visual Representation
Emma Baldwin Poetry Expert
About
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues through analyzing poetry on Poem Analysis.
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