Saturday, April 04, 2009

Who Has Seen the Wind? by Christina Rossetti

Consider this a "bonus poem" for the week. Although not part of my interlocked National Poetry Month celebration, this is nevertheless a lovely little poem for a gusty day. April might be renowned for its showers (and we've had those as well), but I can assure you that it's provided us with ample blustery winds thus far as well.

Who Has Seen the Wind?
by Christina Rossetti

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you.
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

Christina Rossetti wrote this poem, which is frequently anthologized in collections for children. It is a perfect choice for memorization based on its repetition. It's essentially written in two quatrains (4-line stanzas), and it rhymes XAXAXBXB (where the X lines don't rhyme). The first and fifth lines are identical, the second and sixth merely reverse "I" and "you", and the fourth and eighth swap out the final word only to keep with the rhyme scheme. Only the third and seventh lines have marked differences, and even they start the same and keep the same metre.

Today, the leaves aren't hanging trembling, but only because they are not yet truly out around here - instead the fruit trees are in flower, and the remaining trees are tipped red and gold and palest green.

"But when the trees bow down their heads, the wind is passing by."

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Ortiz said...

Hi, I've been reading this poem to my eight year old son. We read together and practically knows it now. After hearing him say out loud, I kept repeating the words in my head. Then it dawned on me what the poem was saying.
When it asks, who has seen the wind it refers to God. We are the trees and when have worries we tremble with fear but God is there. When we bow our heads down and pray just like the trees in the poem God is there. The wind is like God, we can't see him but we can always feel the wind just like we feel God.

Kelly Fineman said...

That is certainly a valid reading of it, but it is equally possible that it was a simple observation of the motion of the wind in the trees.

One of the beauties of poetry (all forms of writing, really) is that people bring their own experiences and expectations along with them, and often find additional layers of meaning that the writer hadn't even considered!

Anonymous said...

Kelly you are right, but the writer was a person of faith. As another person of faith I find it impossible that I would be able to write such a poem without any reference to God. Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see.

For what it's worth to anyone, this is probably only the second time that I have ever commented on a post.