Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

I arrived home to discover that the new neighbors (well, new this year) have put up a rather significant fence. And, while I not only recognize their right to fence their own yard and support their desire to enclose their space so as to make it easier and more enjoyable for their two rather adorable dogs to be in the yard without being tethered, I admit that I quickly heard the words of Robert Frost echoing in my head when I saw the great white wall of PVC blocking my western view.

This may simply be the result of me being nostalgic about American Literature as a new school year begins and the fence was an obvious trigger.

Still, truth be told, I’d say that their literal fence has done less to keep them in or keep others out than all of our busyness and independence, preoccupation and insecurity.

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 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:
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.

One thought on “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

  1. Charlene Canada says:

    Sorry for the blocked view, but thinking that fences can make good backdrops for growing things and good excuses to take baked goodies to the front door.

    LOVE how you blog, Ruth. Thanks for letting me feel without having to figure out how to say it.

    Oh, and I really like your picture/header thing on your blog too. 🙂

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