Elements of Poetry in Garth Brooks' "The Thunder Rolls"

by Angela Neal Google
Learn which traditional literary elements are used in the lyrics of

Learn which traditional literary elements are used in the lyrics of "The Thunder Rolls."

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If you want to learn how to write poems or song lyrics, it helps to learn about poetic elements and see how they are used in contemporary songs. "The Thunder Rolls," by popular country singer Garth Brooks, uses some of the most basic, yet effective poetic elements.

Meter and Rhyme

Meter in a poem is the way the lines create a pattern and a rhythm, even if the words are simply read and the music is omitted. Every other line of the first verse of the song creates a pattern with rhyme. For example: "Three-thirty in the morning Not a soul in sight The city's lookin' like a ghost town On a moonless summer night Raindrops on the windshield There's a storm moving in He's headin' back from somewhere That he never should have been" The last word in a line rhymes with the last word two lines proceeding. The second verse has a rhyming meter, but the pattern is different: "Every light is burnin' In a house across town She's pacin' by the telephone In her faded flannel gown Askin' for a miracle Hopin' she's not right Prayin' it's the weather That's kept him out all night" In the second verse, the last word in the line rhymes with the last word three lines preceeding.

Allegory and Symbolism

An allegory is a meaning beneath the surface, which could also be taken at face value. In "The Thunder Rolls," the stormy night, which is the setting of the song, creates an atmosphere of doom and symbolizes how the characters in the song are feeling. The chorus of the song especially employs this element of poetry: "The thunder rolls And the lightnin' strikes Another love grows cold On a sleepless night As the storm blows on Out of control Deep in her heart The thunder rolls"


Imagery is used to paint a picture in the mind of the reader or listener, to make the experience of the poem or piece of writing feel as real as possible. The imagery in this song is strong because it uses powerful descriptive words about a subject many people are familiar with -- thunderstorms. It uses the listeners' mental visions of the drama of a thunderstorm to help illustrate the "scenes": "But on the wind and rain A strange new perfume blows And the lightnin' flashes in her eyes And he knows that she knows"


Tone in a poem or song is the overall mood created. All of the other elements used in "The Thunder Rolls" work together to set the tone of the song. The song is about a doomed relationship, and the use of the thunderstorm in the song sets a dark, dreary and frightening tone. Even though the words are ominous and powerful, the rhythm created by the syllables in the lines has a traditional pattern and moves somewhat slowly, which gives the reader a feeling of anticipation and impending doom. The last verse in the song wraps it up and brings the dangerous foreshadowing of the previous verses to a conclusion. "She runs back down the hallway To the bedroom door She reaches for the pistol Kept in the dresser drawer Tells the lady in the mirror He won't do this again Cause tonight will be the last time She'll wonder where he's been"

About the Author

Angela Neal is a writer for various websites, specializing in published articles ranging from the categories of art and design to beauty and DIY fashion. Neal received her Associate of Arts in administrative assisting from Bohecker College.

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