Friday, January 27, 2017

Poetry Friday: Mending Wall

Mending Wall
by Robert Frost
 
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbours."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbours? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down." I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbours."


Here's today's roundup.

10 comments:

Donna Smith said...

We did a lot of mending fences when we had horses. It was a good neighbor who kept his fences mended and his stuff on his side. But there was also a gate. We used the gate. There have been other times though, when we have built a higher fence and left out the gate. It all depended on the neighbor.

Brenda Harsham said...

Great poem, Ruth.

I can't fence my yard, and some days it seems as if the whole world and their dog walk past. Their dogs seem to enjoy the corners of my yard. Yet, I don't feel the need for fences. I don't really feel I own the earth, I just live here. I take as best care as I can, but I don't feel like fences suit how I view the world.

Mitchell Linda said...

Oh, I do love this poem so much....it's so relevant today. Thank you, Ruth. Thank you.

Linda B said...

You've caught the poem that feels so right for this week, Ruth. I know it but had forgotten all the parts, like this: "Before I built a wall I'd ask to know/What I was walling in or walling out,". I'm asking lots of questions these days! Thank you!

Violet Nesdoly said...

Very apropos poem for these times. I haven't read this for a while. Today these lines snag me:

"And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go."

He has captured so well the two viewpoints: pro wall and no wall, and their implications (especially with his word choices: "like an old-stone savage armed. He moves in darkness as it seems to me").

Kay said...

This poem is perfect for this week. Do we remember that something about walls wants to come down? Are we asking what it is we want to wall in our out? Why--and when or not--do good fences make good neighbors?

Carol Varsalona said...

Ruth, this poem brings up some relevant points for this week in politics. "And to whom I was like to give offence." What is the purpose and will a wall bring direct results or more division? Thanks for sharing this poem.

Mary Lee said...

Amen and amen. Thank you, and thanks be for Robert Frost.

Irene Latham said...

Dear Ruth, thank you for sharing this poem. I love the word "mending." Such a soft, powerful word. I am meditating on that this morning. xo

BJ Lee said...

Ruth - thank you for posting this oldie but goodie today. I love me some Robert Frost!