You have to wonder sometimes when the wind is blowing and your stuff is flying everywhere, why can't we see the wind so we can give it a piece of our mind? After all, we can feel it everywhere at any time and yet we don't know where it's coming from or why it's chosen to ruin our day by messing up our very precarious hairdos. You're not alone, brave Shmooper. Christina Rossetti definitely wondered about the source of the invisible wind, too, and if anyone has ever seen it in the flesh, so to speak.
Way back in the Victorian era, around 1872, Rossetti wrote a collection of nursery rhymes entitled Sing-Song: A Nursery Rhyme Book, and in it she composed all sorts of neat little poems that grapple with the kinds of questions that kids and adults ask all the time.
"Who Has Seen the Wind?" is one of Rossetti's short rhymes that reflects the poet's interest in the phenomena of nature and how folks come to understand things like wind, rain, growth, and all that jazz. After all, even as adults we can't say for sure where the wind comes from or what it looks like. Scientists have all sorts of explanations as to why things like wind exist, but they haven't been able to tell us who has seen it. There's still a bit of mystery left.
Enter Christina Rossetti and her delightful little rhymes that break nature down for us in a way that not only makes sense but sounds nice, too. She was kind of like a Beatle in her day—a rock star of Victorian lyrical poetry (without the rock and roll). Her poems have a kind of symbolic simplicity and effortlessness that audiences today are still tickled by. And we're guessing Rossetti will continue to hold her rock star status, since we're still waiting on an answer to that question, "Who Has Seen the Wind?"
Why is the sky blue?
Can the stork take my brother back?
Will my head explode if I think too much?
You used to ask fun questions when you were a wee little one, right? Hey, we all did. And that's kind of what makes being a kid so rad. Kids don't worry about people looking at them like they're nuts if they ask a question the rest of us might deem silly. In fact, kids often try their hardest to come up with the silliest and most ridiculous questions that will inspire a little chuckle from their folks. It's kind of their duty as kids.
Christina Rossetti's "Who Has Seen the Wind?" will bring you right back to those days when silly questions weren't so silly. You might even see the kind of pure logic that inspires those so-called ridiculous questions. Maybe you'll even consider for a moment that Rossetti's nursery rhymes were definitely onto something. After all, there's nothing particularly crazy in asking if anyone has ever seen the wind. We feel it all the time but who can say what it really looks like?
So in a way, Rossetti's poem reopens our days of a more innocent imagination that knew no boundaries. Her singsong rhymes tickle our memories of being a kid and hearing all sorts of new ideas and questions that many of us still haven't answered. We might even look at the trees as they "bow down their heads" with the same sort of curiosity that makes us wonder why we can't actually see the force that makes gigantic trees move the way they do.
And who knows, maybe you'll even be the Shmooper to say, "I've seen the wind!" But we're not holding our breath for that.
Sing-Song All the Day Long
You know you're dying to read the rest of Rossetti's nursery rhymes.
One-Stop Rossetti Shop
Here's all you could ever want to know about Rossetti in all her Victorian glory.
Windy and Such
Listen to our poem in all its British sounding awesomeness.
Kids Put it to Music
Check out this cool musical interpretation done by a school choir.
Soprano Singing Rossetti
Folks love to put this poem to music. No wonder it sounds so singsongy.
This tree gives a good idea of what Rossetti maybe had in mind.
Our lady wasn't known for her constant joy…
Rossetti Criticism Galore!
Every angle of every Rossetti critic is right here for you.
Rossetti and those Pre-Raphaelites
The BBC breaks it all down for us, including how to pronounce "Pre-Raphaelites."
Faith, Gender, and Time
Here's a good look at three of Rossetti's most notorious themes.
The Patience of Style
Hassett looks at Sing-Song and other Rossetti collections.