Study Guide

Who Has Seen the Wind? Quotes

By Christina Rossetti

  • Man and the Natural World

    Who has seen the wind?
    Neither I nor you: (1-2)

    The wind might be invisible, but that's not to say we can't feel it and see how it affects the rest of nature. That's kind of what makes nature so mysterious, since we usually only get a glimpse into the ways of nature.

    But when the leaves hang trembling,
    The wind is passing through. (3-4)

    It's those leaves that tell us that the wind does in fact exist in the poem. Their "trembling" is our only evidence of the wind's mysterious ways. So man might not be able to see the wind, but at least nature is throwing us a bone here through the leaves.

    But when the trees bow down their heads,
    The wind is passing by. (7-8)

    Nature also seems to have a kind of understanding that man just doesn't get. The trees "bow down their heads" like they know what's up. They respect the wind and don't fuss and fight when it passes by.

  • Awe and Amazement

    Who has seen the wind?
    Neither you nor I: (5-6)

    Until we get that question answered, we're guessing the wind will continue in its awe-inspiring ways. When we can't see things we obviously feel, our imaginations tend to run away with themselves, and that's a great thing.

    But when the trees bow down their heads,
    The wind is passing by. (7-8)

    When we're feeling amazed, we tend to imbue nature with human characteristics in order to help explain what's happening. Nursery rhymes are no exception. Here the trees have heads like people and they even appear to have a silent understanding with the wind.

    But when the leaves hang trembling,
    The wind is passing through. (5-6)

    The trees are not only personified here as they tremble, but they also reflect the amazing force the wind appears to have. We can't see the force but we see the trees move in a way that tells us that being invisible doesn't make something less powerful. We think H.G. Wells would agree.