Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Mending Wall

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 neighbor 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 neighbors'.

No story: just liked the toppling wall texures, and shapes, the particolored lichen, the dessicated mosses dry and dormant in the hot afternoon sun.

Dunno why I thought of the Frost poem: it always speaks to me of cool woodlands and New England spring. But I did.



Lisa said...

Great pairing of visuals to poem.

I am always fascinated by walls which barely hang on. Which lean like Pisa's tower. Trees which grow into and around their constricting fences.

One in my neighborhood has thorougly infiltrated and subsumed the galvanized grid fence it abutted. It is now obstructed by an overlain picket fence, but I am inspired to try and get a photo anyway.

You Know Where You Are With said...

Lovely wall.

One of the most misquoted Frost poems, of course. No one seems to remember that the infamous line is spoken by THE NEIGHBOR, who is suspect, to say the least.

Lisa said...

Good point on the interp. However, I do think Frost is honoring the stoic New England tradition of piling and re-piling stone walls, even though the apples aren't going to run over to the other side (!)

To me, the poem acknowledges other's needs for borders. Though there is the slight and wry hypothetical question: "Something there is that doesn't love a wall," I believe Frost is saying most people like and need to know their boundaries, and that is just life, even in the small city.

FDChief said...

YK, Lisa: Agree on your take on the poem - I think Frost is rueful but realistic, wishing his neighbor was a little less flinty-New-England-closed but understanding that he is what he is.

My mother's sister's family lived in a wooded plot in central Conneticuit, and I used to love wandering the New England woods in autumn, my nose full of the crisp, spicy scent of the fallen oak and maple leaves that half-buried these old tumbled stone walls left behind by the vanished farms of Frost's day.

Lisa said...

I love hedgerows, too. Not only are they an art, but there is something refined in that effort to maintain proper borders. And hedgehogs get to live there, too!