Who Has Seen the Wind?
by Christina Rossetti
Analysis: Sound Check
You shouldn't be too shocked when we say "Who Has Seen the Wind?" sounds like a nursery rhyme. Just like the speaker of this super-short rhyme, the overall sound is a bit more refined and lyrical than most others. It's not too sure if it wants to be a poem or a nursery rhyme, in other words, and we're more than happy to settle for the in-between approach.
In fact, if we didn't already know that this rhyme was part of a big book of nursery rhymes, you might even think it's just a really short, clever poem. Maybe Rossetti was out one windy day and just couldn't resist writing about it. Maybe she had an annoying little nephew that she needed to get to sleep quickly without any tears.
Either way, "Who Has Seen the Wind?" sounds simple, catchy, lyrical, and poignant in the way the speaker asks and answers that pressing question. She avoids sounding too cute or too kid-friendly by keeping her imagery simple without any elaborate explanations or talking creatures.
The prescribed meters for each line remind us that this is indeed a singsong kind of poem that we're meant to remember. Whether we're moving from up/down to down/up syllabic patterns, we can't resist singing along and bobbing our heads now and then.
But we also have the added bonus (largely due to our refined speaker) of hearing something slightly more mysterious and elusive when we imagine the "wind passing through." We can almost hear the wind zipping through the leaves and then disappearing before we even know it's there. So Rossetti's poem isn't your typical rhyme about spiders and Little Miss Muffet sitting on her tuffet. It packs a bit more of a punch.