In her poem "Who Has Seen the Wind?," Christina Rossetti uses some interesting variations in language. It is a simple poem of only two stanzas, yet it has a deep meaning.
Each of the poem's stanzas begins with a question: "Who has seen the wind?" The second line of each stanza answers the question. In the first stanza, the poet writes, "Neither I nor you," but in the second stanza, she varies her response and writes, "Neither you nor I." The speaker then goes on to note how we can sense the wind. In the first stanza, she speaks of leaves trembling as the wind passes through, and in the second, she refers to trees bowing their heads as the wind passes by.
The poet varies her language first to support her rhyme scheme. Notice how "you" and "through" rhyme in the first stanza and "I" and "by" in the second. But there is more than just rhyme variations going on here. In the first stanza, the speaker puts herself first. This foregrounds her own perceptions, and she notices the wind through the trembling leaves. The image suggests that the leaves, if personified, are frightened with the force of the passing wind. They hang down and tremble, unable to resist the wind.
In the second stanza, the speaker puts her audience first. The audience notices the wind in a different way. The trees bow down their heads. There is a reverence here as well as a flexibility. The trees recognize a superior force in the wind and bow to it. But because they are flexible and adaptable, they bend rather than break.
Indeed, no one can see the wind, but the wind blows through our lives, and we have to decide how to respond to its force. We can be like the fearful leaves or the reverent, flexible trees.