Who Has Seen the Wind?

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.

Summary of Who Has Seen the Wind?

  • Popularity of “Who Has Seen the Wind?”: This poem was written by Christiana Rossetti, a great English poet. ‘Who Has Seen the Wind?’ is a wonderful poem about formidable nature. It was first published in 1947. The poem also speaks about the mystery of nature. It illustrates how unseen wind is seen and felt by the natural objects. Its popularity, however, lies in that it deals with the phenomenon of the sublimity of nature.
  • “Who Has Seen the Wind?” As a Representative of Nature: This poem is an expression of wonder. The speaker asks if anyone has seen the wind and answers the question herself in the next line. According to her, nobody has seen the wind but we have seen its effects everywhere, especially in the trees. When the wind touches the tree, the leaves start trembling, implying that it spreads terror and awe in the natural setting. As the questions continue, once again, the trees become the witness as to when it hits the trees, they bow their heads. Thus, human beings cannot see wind with their naked eyes but nature can see and feels what is hidden from man. What, however, stays in the minds of the reader is the way she indirectly narrates the wind’s presence.
  • Major Themes in “Who Has Seen the Wind?”: Sublimity of nature, man and the natural world and amazement are the major themes underlined in this poem. The speaker experiences the sublimity of wind and projects this perception of natural objects that respond to the unseen wind. The beauty of the wind has been realized by the moving trees. The intensity and power of the wind can be observed by looking at the trembling leaves or bent trees. The speaker wonders why we are unable to see the powerful force that brings notable changes in the world.

Analysis of Literary Devices Used in “Who Has Seen the Wind?”

Literary devices are tools that the writers use to create meanings in their texts and convey their emotions, feelings, and ideas to the readers. Christina Rossetti has also used some literary devices in this poem. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem has been given below.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line. For example, the sound of /i/ in “The wind is passing by” and the sound of /ei/ in “But when the trees bow down their heads”.
  2. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line in quick succession. For example, the sound of /n/ in “Neither I nor you”.
  3. Anaphora: It refers to the repetition of a word or expression in the first part of some verses. For example, “But when the” is repeated in both stanzas of the poem to emphasize the point.
  4. Imagery: The use of imagery enables the reader to understand the writer’s feelings and emotions. For example, “But when the leaves hang trembling”, “But when the trees bow down their heads,” and “But when the leaves hang trembling.”
  5. Irony: Irony is a figure of speech in which words are used in such a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual meaning of the words. The poet has used this device throughout the poem, as it is ironic that we cannot see the wind, yet its art is seen and felt.
  6. Personification: Personification is to give human qualities to inanimate objects. The poet has personified leaves and trees in the poem. For example,But when the leaves hang trembling” and “But when the trees bow down their heads.”
  7. Rhetorical Question: Rhetorical question is a question that is not asked in order to receive an answer; it is just posed to make the point clear. For example, “Who has seen the wind?”
  8. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. Here, “wind” symbolizes power and divinity.

Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in “Who Has Seen the Wind?”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  1. Quatrain: A quatrain is a four-lined stanza borrowed from Persian poetry.
  2. Repetition: There is a repetition of the verse “Who has seen the wind?” which has created a musical quality in the poem.
  3. Refrain: The lines that are repeated again at some distance in the poems are called refrain. The verse, “Who has seen the wind?” is repeated with the same words, it has become a refrain as it has been repeated in all stanzas of the poem.
  4. Rhyne Scheme: The poem follows the ABCB rhyme scheme and this pattern continues until the end.

Quotes to be Used

The lines stated below are useful for children to tell them how nature provides us a chance to feel the things we cannot perceive with the naked eye.

“Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.”