On Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,….
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’…..

From Robert Frosts Poem Mending Wall.

“something there does not love a wall” Robert  Frost observed…Nature does not love a wall , not enough to keep from knocking his and his neighbors wall down each spring.

Yet strangely, the two neighbors in a poem find themselves rebuilding a wall, because thats what people do.

How often we find ourselves doing things, because we believe that what we are suppose to do, whether it makes sense are not.

How often ,when I was young I worked towards “objectives” that were not in my nature or in my wellbeing, because thats what I was supposed to do.

to often we find ourself introjecting without thinking if what we are doing is really meaningful or natural.

“….Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors?”

Frost finds it in his nature to challenge an unnatural attitude.
Is doing something against our nature or common sense, just because its what people (or neighbors) do, not worth challenging?

Good fences make good neighbors.”


About chris
I write because I'm not good at it. I share because, writing without sharing seems empty. Thus, I write and share what I think is meaningful.

2 Responses to On Mending Wall

  1. Gypsy says:

    I used to love teaching this poem, largely because it actually turns both narrator’s and neighbor’s assumptions on their heads.

    The neighbor, if he thinks deeply about it at all, sees the wall as maintaining order and structure between neighbors. The narrator (It’s never wise to assume, even in first-person work, that the viewpoint character *is* the author.) seems to find the whole thing rather silly — but the poem proves the neighbor is right, though in a way he almost certainly doesn’t mean.

    The two of them have a common task each spring, something that brings them together. They talk, they work together, they accomplish something through shared effort. Maintaining a good fence does make them good neighbors, even if neither of them completely understands how and why.

    • chris says:

      point wisely taken about not making the assumption that Frost is the narrator.

      “Mending Wall” is on of my favorite all time poems and I find it hard to write just a short post about it, if just about a few of its lines.

      thanks for sharing, and I’m glad to hear they still talk about “Mending Wall” in the class room!

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