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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.”

Short Poem Analysis

"Mending Wall" by Robert Frost is a thought-provoking and allegorical poem that explores themes of boundaries, tradition, and the tension between connection and separation. Through its narrative structure, vivid imagery, and symbolic language, the poem delves into the complexities of human relationships and the significance of barriers.

The poem describes the annual ritual of two neighbors repairing a stone wall that divides their properties. The speaker questions the necessity of the wall, musing on the adage "Good fences make good neighbors." The differing attitudes of the speaker and his neighbor toward the wall create a central tension in the poem.

The neighbor is portrayed as staunchly traditional, repeating the saying passed down through generations: "Good fences make good neighbors." His perspective reflects a belief in maintaining boundaries and clear divisions between individuals.

The speaker, on the other hand, is more reflective and curious. He questions the need for the wall and the purpose it serves, suggesting that there is no need to keep something out when there are no cows to contain. His attitude embodies a desire for open communication and connection.

The imagery of the poem, such as the "frozen-ground-swell" and the "spring mending-thaw," symbolizes the cyclical nature of life and the changing seasons. The act of mending the wall becomes a metaphor for the maintenance of social and emotional boundaries.

"Mending Wall" is often interpreted as a commentary on the dual nature of human relationships. On one hand, the poem explores the necessity of boundaries and the preservation of personal space and identity. On the other hand, it raises questions about the barriers that keep individuals apart and whether they hinder genuine connection.

The poem's open-ended conclusion, where the neighbor asserts "Good fences make good neighbors," leaves readers to ponder the complexities of maintaining boundaries in relationships. "Mending Wall" encourages reflection on the delicate balance between maintaining traditions and embracing change, and the tensions that arise when individuals grapple with the desire for both connection and autonomy.

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