mending wall poem robert frost

 Mending Wall Poem - Robert Frost

Mending Wall Poem - 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 outdoor 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 offense. 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 h likes having throught of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

Explanatory Notes

Line 1. Look at the word order of the sentence; normal syntax will be, there is something... that doesn't love a wall'. Put the words 'in nature' or 'in human nature' after 'something' and read the line again to find out the poet's meaning.

Line 23. Syntax we do not need the wall (where it is)'. 

Lines 28-29. This is an example of mixing up the casual and the serious, though the speaker's tone is light ('spring is the mischief in me') he is serious about putting a notion into the neighbour's head.

Lines 36-37. Note the difference between the first line of the poem and this statement. The addition of 'That wants it down' may refer to either 'nature' or 'human nature' suggesting that both nature and man are against all types of walls and so want them down.

Lines 36-38. Note the wry humour of the poet. He playfully suggests that perhaps the elves wanted the wall down but adds that elves who can go beyond any wall need not insist on the wall coming down. In fact, life without walls is the best way to live. The poet expects that this notion is understood by the neighbour.

Lines 38-45. The ending of the poem associates the neighbour's view about the need for good fences with his being a conventional, uncivilised man moving in darkness. The paradox implicit in this suggestion puts forth a question: are walls a product of civilisation or a product of the lack of civilisation?

Irony. The irony implicit in the situation is worth noting. If the speaker is not in favour of the wall, why does he invite the neighbour (lines 12-14) to mend it every year? Does the poet (not the speaker) approve of either of the two contrasting attitudes? How do you know? Note that the poet and the persona are different.

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