Mark D. Roberts

Mark D. Roberts


Words to Weigh: “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost

posted by Mark D. Roberts


Yesterday in his sermon, my pastor, David Evans, quoted from Robert Frost’s poem, “Mending Wall.” I had not thought about this poem in many years, but was glad David mentioned it. It surely contains words to weigh.
“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 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’.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? 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 neighbors.”

Photo: A stone wall in New England



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Thomas Buck

posted October 5, 2009 at 7:26 am


My neighbors across the street and on both sides all have dogs. They’d be all over our yard without the invisible fences they have installed.
I wonder if they have a version for cats? Our cat wanders a lot.
Sometimes fences DO make good neighbors.
Tom



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Ray

posted October 5, 2009 at 9:13 am


I’ve never had much luck fencing in a cat. Maybe fences make good neighbors, but cats make bad neighbors.



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Thomas Buck

posted October 5, 2009 at 12:42 pm


Re: #2. Ray
Yeah, I know. At least ours is generally good-natured.
I’m not much of an animal guy. When one of ours dies, it’s usually not too long before I come home from work and Her Loveliness has brought something new home.
Tom



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