In poetry, consonance is one of the prominent and frequently used poetic sound devices after alliteration, assonance and rhyme.
Consonance can also be considered as a form of assonance, which is the repetition of vowel sounds between words, but consonance on contrary follows the repetition of consonants sounds which is generally called consonance in American English.
What is Consonance in Poetry?
Consonance is the repetition of consonant sound in close proximity usually on the same or adjacent lines of a poem, often occurring at the end of the words but can appear anywhere in the words of poetry.
- All‘s well that ends well.
- Norm the worm took the garden by storm.
- Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers (a popular tongue twister with consonance)
Also read: Examples of Assonance in Poetry
Examples of Consonance in Poetry
Below is the list of the best examples of consonance created in poetry by some of the renowned poets. Note- In the examples, the similar consonant sounds in words are represented through the same colors to let you understand the consonance in poetry better.
Example #1- Mother to son by Langston Hughes
I’se been a-climbin‘ on,
And reachin‘ landin‘s,
And turnin‘ corners,
In these three lines from Langston Hughes’ poem, Mother to Son, the repetition consonant sound of ”in” in every line is creating consonance in the poem.
Example #2- The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable,
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
In these lines from the poem, The Fish, Elizabeth Bishop creates consonance using the consonant repetition of the ”ng” sound in the first-line and again using repeated consonant ”n” sound in the fourth line.
Example #3- Invitation by Shel Silverstein
If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire,
For we have some flex golden tales to spin.
Come in! come in!
In these lines from Invitation, a poem from Shel Silverstein’s 1974 children’s poetry collection, Where the Sidewalks Ends, the repetition of consonant ”er” sound in the first three lines and the consonant ”n” sound in the last line is creating consonance in the poem.
Example #4- Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden their lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lives with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
In this six lines stanza from the poem Annabel Lee, popular poetry, and short story writter, Edgar Allan Poe created consonance using the repetition consonant ”n” and ”l” sound in every line.
Example #5- Out, Out by Robert Frost
The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood
Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
In these lines from Out-out, Robert Frost is creating consonance in the poem using the repetition of ”l” and ”d” consonant sounds in every line.
Example #6- Shall I Wasting in Despair by George Wither
Great, or good, or kind, or fair, I will ne’er the more despair;
If she love me, this believe,
I will die ere she shall grieve;
If she slight me when I woo,
I can scorn and let her go;
For if she be not for me,
What care I for whom she be?
In these lines from George William’s poem, the repetition of consonant ”r” sound in every line is creating consonance in the poem.
Example #7- Arms and the Boy by Wilfred Owen
Let the boy try along this bayonet blade
How cold steel is, and keen with hunger of blood;
Blue with all malice, like a madman’s flash;
And thinly drawn with famishing for flesh.
In these four lines stanza from Arms and the Boy, William Owen creates consonance in the poem using the repetition consonant ”b” sound in the first line, repetition consonant ”d” sound in the second line, and ”f” sound in the fourth line.
Example #8- Poem 315 by Emily Diction
Your breathe has time to straighten,
Your brain bubble cool,
Deals one imperial thunderbolt
That scalps your naked soul.
In these lines from Emily Diction’s poem, the popular American poet created consonance using the repetition consonant ”l” sound in the lines.
Example #9- Birches by Robert Frost
It’s when I weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it and one eye is weeping
From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
In these lines from Robert Frost’s poem Birches, Frost created consonance in the poem using the repetition consonant ”w” and ”l” sound in the lines.
Example #10- The Acrobats by Shel Silverstein
I’ll swing by my ankles.
She’ll cling to your knees.
As you hang by your nose,
From a high-up trapeze.
But just one thing, please,
As we float through the breeze,
In these lines from The Acrobats, Shel Silverstein created a complex consonance using six different repetition consonant sounds.
Example #11- Paradise Lost by John Milton
Of Man’s First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe
With loss of Eden, till one great Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat…
In these first five lines from John Milton’s popular epic poem, Paradise Lost, Milton created consonance using four repetition consonants ”f”, ”t”, ”s” and ”w” sounds in the lines.
Learn about consonance thoroughly here
Also read: Examples of Meter in Poetry