Examples of Repetition in Poetry

Repetition is a technique to repeat the same words or phrases or full-sentence several times to make the idea more memorable and clear to the reader. When using repetition poet should be aware of what he/she is repeating is important to the subject of the poem. Otherwise, it can sound overdone.  Repetition brings the theme and hidden meaning into the light. It is to emphasize an idea, feeling, or thought which poet wants to express more deeply. Many poets understand the effectiveness of this technique and utilize it as a meaningful weapon. It has many types. You can find their detail from https://literarydevices.net/repetition/. Some examples of repetition are given below:

All the world is a stage – William Shakespeare

That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

In the above lines, Shakespeare has described the old age, which he called second childishness, the stage of oblivion in which a man sinks into nothingness. Stress on the word ‘sans’ means that a man remains without teeth, eyes, taste, and many other things in the old age.

 Stopping by the woods in the snowy evening – Robert Frost

The woods are lovely dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

These are very famous lines of Frost. Here the person is standing in the snowy evening along with his horse. He is pondering at the beauty of surrounding when his horse alarmed him. He is ready to go back because he has to perform worldly duties and tasks. Here through repetition, the poet wants to express his devotion towards his responsibilities and also gives rhythm to the lines.

Excelsior – Henry. W. Longfellow

The shades of night were falling fast…
A banner with the strange device,
There is a twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay…
A voice fell like a falling star,

In the above lines, the word ‘Excelsior’ is repeated twice. Excelsior is a Latin word and means ever upward and ever higher. In other words, keep your aim high. It not only uses for the stress but also helps the poet to create rhythm.

O Captain! My Captain! – Walt Witman

O Captain! My Captain! Rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up – for you the flag is flung- for you the bugle trills….

Here the poet uses repetition throughout the lines to stress on the mournful theme. The repetition of words ‘rise up’, ‘for you’, and ‘O Captain’ is evident in the example. The feeling of distress is dominant in the lines. Call for the captain in the melancholy tone strongly supports the theme along with these repeated words.

The Bells – Edgar Allan

To the swinging and the ringing
of the bells, bells, bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells
Bells, bells, bells-
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!’

The word ‘bells’ is repeated throughout the poem. The purpose of this repetition is to increase enthusiasm and to create rhythm. It is to imitate the continual ringing of bells. The nonstop and alarming sound, and so is the impact of this word in the poem.

War Is Kind – Stephen Crane

Do not weep, babe, for war is kind.
Because your father tumbles in yellow trenches,
Raged at his breast, gulped and died,
Do not weep
War is kind.

The phrase ‘do not weep, war is kind’ is repetitive in the given line to express the horrors of war. It comes at the end of the stanza, so we can also call it to refrain. The poet tries to convince his readers that war is not a kind thing. This is a name of destruction, which becomes the cause of tears in many eyes.

Best Kind – Alex

The best kind of people are warm and kind
They are always there and they never mind
The best kind of people smile and embrace,
They support you with strength and grace.

In the above lines, there is a repetition of the phrase ‘the best kind’. Here the poet wants to paint the picture of good people, and an emphasis on the word best is to tell the true morality of a person. Best is a superlative degree, which means the highest quality, firstly he tells that the goodness lies in the kindness and further he says that there should be a smile and strength in oneself.

But You Didn’t – Merrill Glass

Remember the time you lent me your car and I dented it?
I thought you’d kill me…
But you didn’t.
Remember the time I forgot to tell you the dance was
Formal, and you came in jeans?
I thought you’d hate me…
But you didn’t.

In the above lines, there is the repetition of ‘I thought’ and ‘but you didn’t’. Here, the poem is about the relationship between husband and wife. The mood is dark and sad. The repetition gives it a more meaningful connection to the speaker’s life.

Spring – Camille Gotera

When the frost on grass is replaced with sweet dew,
When the fields become dotted with flowers, reminding me of you,
When the lonely silence becomes filled with melodies,
When you feel warm air, erasing bad memories
We know winter has ended.

These lines are the welcoming notes for the spring season. The repetition of the word ‘when’ is about the moments or the time when all these changes are going to happen. The main idea behind the repetition is the replacement of things and feelings.

Last Chance – Stefanie

I want to scream and yell, Dad,
But I fear my voice will crack.
I want so much to tell you, Dad,
That I can’t always take you back.

Please listen to my words, Dad,
For they are all that I can say.
I want you to treat me like I’m yours, Dad,
And not just throw me away.

The poet uses the repetition of the word ‘Dad’ to grab the attention of her father. She also wants the reader to know the distance and broken relationship with her dad. Stress on this specific word means to move his father inwardly. She uses a lot of emotions to covey the pain she feels about the absence of her dad.