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Alliteration is the repetition of consonants sounds at the beginning of words. Alliteration can be taken to extremes, as in the following well known tongue-twister, which makes use of the "p" sound at the beginning of almost every word:

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

Alliteration, if not used to this extreme, can be more subtle, adding just a little extra flavor to the poem, as shown in this poem excerpt:

Lonely Wanderer
And as my feet led ever on, the sounds
Of civil man grew silent on the air,
Replaced by nature's wild cacophony
That waxed and waned upon the whisp'ring wind.

(Copyright 2009 by Douglas Twitchell)

At the beginning, there are some repeated "s" sounds (sounds, civil, and silent), and toward the end there are repeated "w" sounds (wild, waxed, waned, whispering, wind).

Note that it is the sound that is important, not the letter. Thus, even though "civil" does not begin with the letter "s", this is alliteration, since it does begin with the "s" sound.

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