A favorite poem: Who Has Seen the Wind

Image by Becka Choat
Image by Becka Choat

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.


Baby Girl the Second and I don’t read at bedtime. We almost always do read, together or individually, right up until then, but when we have our teeth brushed and our pajamas on and settle down to snuggle, it’s time for what she has dubbed “Poem Theatre,” in which we take turns reciting poems we have memorized, ranging from “I’ll tell you how the sun rose” to “I saw a star slide down the sky.”

Christina Rossetti was the first poet who reached that deep place down inside me, decades ago, and she remains a favorite who is quoted regularly in our house. These words of hers were particularly right a few nights ago, with a late cold front blowing in as the day wound down.

It’s an unassuming little poem; short and simple enough to be lilted like a lullaby to a child, soothingly repetitive enough to be murmured like a mantra by a troubled mind, straightforward enough to be understood without strain – yet deep enough to delve into and dwell in for a while, as I did after tucking BGS in the other evening.

I was thinking about how many of the things that make me who I am, that make us who we are as humans, are as elusive to the eye as the wind, but as undeniably evident in their effects.

We’ve known, some of us, the tornado of sudden disaster, tearing away the structures we thought held us safe. We’ve experienced the unrelenting hurricane of circumstances that just keep getting worse. We’ve felt the chilling blast of hateful words.

But oh, thanks be to God, we also know the soughing whispers of encouragement in the dark before the dawn. We bask in the warm breezes of perfect wordless understanding among kindred spirits. We send our kites soaring on gusts of delight at the success of friends. We glide on the updrafts of grace.


Becka Choat is a lifelong lover of words who spends many hours each week in a room of her own, writing or reading and drinking coffee. Her book reviews can be found at www.beckasbookreview.wordpress.com, and her poetry and other musings at www.beckachoat.wordpress.com. You may also follow @beckachoat and/or @booksbybecka on Twitter


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