Essay Sample on Poem Analysis: Wind, Water, Stone by Octavio de Paz

Published: 2023-12-14
 Essay Sample on Poem Analysis: Wind, Water, Stone by Octavio de Paz
Essay type:  Book review
Categories:  Poem Analysis Writers Essays by pagecount
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 992 words
9 min read

Poetry has been one of the ways through which people express and create an understanding of their environment since time immemorial. It acts as a medium through which people understand one another and perceive human aspects such as love, hate, violence, peace, merciful, pitiful, beautiful, and ugly, among other numerous social aspects (Poetry Foundation). One of the poets who has contributed to the proliferation and increased acceptance of poetry is Octavio de Paz. He was a Mexican poet, essayist, diplomat, and a renowned Latin American writer in the 20th century (Wilson 163). Before he died in 1998 (he was born in 1914), he had written numerous poems which saw him receive a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990 (Wilson 163). This paper seeks to analyze one of his Poems, "Wind, Water, Stone," which he wrote in 1979. The poem rotates around a causal relationship in which one event causes the second, and the second causes the third.

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Plot, Setting, Character, and Narration of the Poem

The poem is a description of the interaction of three natural elements, including water, stone, and wind. Although the identity of the persona, also known as the speaker, is hidden, reading through the poem reveals that he or she is relaxed and calm and is in a quiet setting to note the alterations in water flow as influenced by wind and stone. The setting of the poem is evidenced by how the speaker describes the water flow. While listening, the speaker notes, "water escapes and is wind" to emphasize that it is flowing through some stones.

The speaker pays close attention to the flow of water and wind and notes that the “wind sings in its whirling,” and “stone stops the wind” (Paz). Thus, the poem's tone is generally peaceful and tranquil as it takes place in an open area, probably near a river, and everything is calm. There is also unity among the three characters; water, stone, and wind, since one action trigger another, which again causes another.

Purpose and Reason, and Theme of the Poem

Generally, each stanza describes each character's ability to influence each other in some way to confirm that there is a connection amongst them. For instance, in the first stanza, water flows through stones, and in the process, the wind scatters the water. However, the stones stop the wind allowing the water to continue flowing. The words, 'water,' 'stone,' and 'wind' are repeated in the last sentence of each stanza but in a different order. It is also important to note that each stanza attempts to compare how the powers of wind, water, and stone vary.

Generally, the theme of the poem is the interconnectedness of individual powers. Irrespective of the powers of social or environmental elements, when something occurs in a specific manner, it is almost sure that another thing will be affected (Trojan Poetry). The theme implies that it is impractical to change how things are without expecting a ripple effect or the change to affect them somehow. The implication is evidenced in the last stanza, "each is another and no other; crossing and vanishing; through their empty names" (Paz).

Elements of the Poem

The evident elements in the poem are personification, figurative language, and imagery. Octavio gave water, wind, and stone human abilities such that one can influence another. The figurative language and imagery further exemplify the personification. Statements such as “water murmurs,” “wind sings,” and “stone stops the wind” confirms the personification (Trojan Poetry). Perhaps he decided to personify them to make the reader understand that they can indeed influence each other and depend on one another to perform some duties.

The aspect of the Bigger Picture that the Author is Trying to Explore

The bigger picture that the author is trying to explore is the human relationship. In many situations, people influence others, whether negatively or positively, without thinking of the effect of their actions. In some situations, especially those with negative impacts, people do forget that whatever they do may someday affect or haunt them. For instance, just like the wind scatters water and the stone stops the wind, eventually allowing the water to continue flowing, there are various social systems (stones) that can indeed stop social disruptors such as crime (wind), allowing peace and social tranquility to prevail (water flow). The poem also suggests that some actions or occurrences should not affect other people in any way. The stone remains unmoving and keeps still despite wind whirls and water murmurs.


In conclusion, the poem by Octavio de Paz provides an avenue for understanding human interrelationships and the need to spell the effect of a single action not only on other people but also on social systems. Just like the personified elements, including water, stone, and wind, are interrelated, such that the actions of one are highly likely to affect the others. While a person tries to escape to influence another person or a system, the other person is also on a struggle to influence another. The poem is very important when it comes to making people understand their purposes and the struggles that other people have. As supposed by the poem, people should seek to understand the effect of their actions on others and that one is not superior to others and instead need each other. It is also evident that name is a mere emptiness that vanishes hence should not divide people.

Works Cited

Manoliu, Marius Narcis. "Functions of language and elements of poetry." International Journal of Communication Research 7.1 (2017), pp. 58-62.

Paz, Octavio. "Wind, Water, Stone." Poetry Foundation,1979,

Poetry Foundation. "Octavio Paz." Poetry Foundation, 2020,

Trojan Poetry. "Trojan Poetry 48: "Wind, Water, Stone" by Octavio Paz." YouTube, 28 Oct. 2017,

Wilson, Jason. "Octavio Paz." The Cambridge Companion to Latin American Poetry, 2018, pp. 163-172.

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