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I WONDER

JEANNIE KIRBY


SUMMARY

"Questions are the answers." Similarly, life is full questions that seek answers especially for a child.
The poem I Wonder is a poem about a rather intelligent and perceptive child who is curious about
her surroundings.
In this poem, the child is curious about the elements of nature. Throughout the poem, the child's
inquisitiveness is displayed through her questions about things which most of us have probably
taken for granted.
She is keen to seek answers to questions such as 'why the grass is green' and 'why the wind is never
seen?'. As she looks at the trees, she wonders who taught the birds to build their nests. She also
intelligently deduces that when the wind stops, the trees can actually take a break.
As she looks up into the sky, she has more questions about the moon, stars, lightning and rainbow.
She wonders why the shape of the moon is never the same and wonders what happens to the
missing parts when the moon is half or crescent-shaped.
Next, she ponders over the twinkling stars and likens them to a candle that gives light and wonders
who lights them up 'why they blow out?'.
She is further intrigued and wants to know who causes the lightning to flash.
Later, when she looks at the white clouds, she wonders why they are so soft and fluffy and who
hangs them up so high.
The child is also curious to know that after a downpour, who paints the seven colors of the rainbow.
Since most of her questions have gone unanswered by adults, we see that towards the end of the
poem, she shows her annoyance at her father because he fails to feed her curiosity and does not
provide answers to her questions.

Background

It is natural that a child seeks answers to questions about their natural surroundings.
The poet believes that a child's curiosity should be encouraged and not ignored as that is when
learning takes place.
In this poem, the poet has successfully portrayed how a child views nature and its elements. Even
though some questions posed by children can be challenging for adults to answer, we as adults must
seek to educate children to appreciate nature especially in making them realize that nature is
created by our Creator--God.

Setting

The setting of the poem is outdoors. Most probably, the poet is in a park and nature has captured
her imagination.
As the day progresses, she makes her observations. First, she notices the green grass and feels the
soft wind blowing. When the wind blows, the trees sway and when the wind stops, the trees rest.
Next, she looks at the clear skies and the fluffy clouds. Later, when it rains, lightning flashes across
the sky and soon after, she sees a beautiful rainbow.
When night time comes, the stars and the moon light up the night.sky.

Speaker

The speaker or persona in this poem is most probably a child.
The poem starts with the pronoun 'I' in the first sentence. Hence the poem is written in the first
person.

Themes


Nature Does Not Work Alone

The poet wants us to know that there are many elements in nature that do not work alone.
In fact, these elements work together and that is why nature is beautiful and awesome. Some of
these elements are found in the sky such as the moon, stars, clouds, rainbow and lightning.


Nature-God's Awesome Creation

The poet also wants us to realize that nature is simply awesome.
In fact, some aspects of how the elements of nature are created and their existence are beyond our
knowledge and comprehension.
Even though we may have many questions and may not get answers to these questions, we should
not stop questioning because we learn about nature by asking questions. However, the only one
that has all the answers is God.


Nature is Beautiful

The poem clearly highlights the marvels of nature and shows that nature is beautiful.
Therefore, we should appreciate it and not take it for granted. In fact, we should take time to
appreciate and enjoy its beauty.
The poet uses a variety of images to show the beauty of nature by drawing our attention to different
elements such as the green grass, the fluffy white clouds, the shining twinkling stars, the multi-
colored rainbow and the crescent-shaped moon.
All these elements of nature are a means of bringing awareness that nature is beautiful and should
be appreciated.

Lessons Learnt

Nature Should be Appreciated

The poet successfully portrays nature through the eyes of a child. Since children are innocent, they
look at nature as it is and appreciate it. It is this appreciation that the poet wants to highlight.
In short, the five stanzas are all about appreciating nature and its elements. More importantly, the
poet does not want us to take nature for granted. She uses various images to bring out this
appreciation and to show that there is a balance in the way nature has been created.

God is Our Creator

This poem shows that God is our Creator. God is responsible for creating this beautiful natural
environment.
The poem, with its natural setting, shows many facets of nature and how the various elements
interact with each other to bring out the beauty of nature.
The first five stanzas shows God's handiwork and power. This is evident because there are some
aspects of nature which is just beyond our control.
In the last stanza, again we see God's power because as humans, we may not have answers to all the
questions on the existence of nature.

Tone and Mood

The overall tone of this poem is of wonder, inquisitiveness and childhood innocence.
The mood that the speaker conveys is of being happy, captivated and child-like innocence as she
explores the many elements in nature.
The child in the poem is awed by nature and ponders by asking questions. The many questions
posed relate directly to her curiosity.
Both the tone and mood conveyed by the speaker is related to her questions about nature. For
example: 'I wonder why the grass is green', 'And why the wind is never seen?', ' Who taught the
birds to build a nest' etc.
Towards the end, the speaker shows her slight disappointed when her many questions are not
answered by her father.

Structure and Style

There are six stanzas in the poem I Wonder.
Each stanza has two lines. Two lines in a poem are called a couplet. So this poem has six couplets.
The rhyme scheme used by the poet is aa, bb, cc, dd, ee and ff.
This means the last word in Line 1 rhymes with the last word in Line 2.

Example:
Stanza 1
The last word 'green' (Line 1- a) rhymes with the last word 'seen' (Line 2-a).
Stanza 2
The last word 'nest' (Line 1-b) rhymes with the last word 'rest' (Line 2-b).

The next interesting style used by the poet is the questioning. Every couplet ends with a question.
Example:

O, when the moon is not quite round, Where can the missing bit be found?
Who lights the stars, when they blow out, And makes the lightning flash about?
Who paints the rainbow in the sky, And hangs the fluffy clouds so high?

Literary Devices

Poets often use a number of literary devices to create a certain impact. In this poem, the following
are some of the main literary devices employed by the poet.

Alliteration

When a poet repeatedly uses consonants, this is called alliteration.
In this poem, one example of alliteration was used
Example: Line 1-'green grass'

Metaphor

When one wants to make a comparison of things, we use metaphors.
Similarly, in this poem the poet used some metaphors to stress the meaning.
Example: The word 'fluffy clouds' is a metaphor. This metaphor shows that the clouds in the sky are
soft and fluffy.

Imagery

The poet uses imagery to tell the readers about the different aspects of nature.
In this poem we see a number of visual imageries.
Example:
The image of trees resting (Line 4) - And told the trees to take a rest?
The image of the painted rainbow (Line 9) - Who paints the rainbow in the sky?
The image of flashing lightning (Line 8) - And makes the lightning flash about?
The image of stars being lit and blown out (Line 7) - Who lights the stars, when they blow out,
The image of someone hanging up the clouds so high (Line 10) - And hangs the fluffy clouds so high?