Mending Wall…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 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.”  Robert Frost  (1874-1963)
In response to my essay, The Comfort of History, a reader sent a passage from this poem that was so stirring, I felt compelled to read it in its entirety.
Written in 1914, Mending Wall is a poem in blank verse that’s appropriate for these trying times. It’s about two neighbors who one spring day meet to walk along the wall that separates their land and repair it where needed. … We all have neighbors, we all know that walls, of all kinds, eventually need repairing.

About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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32 Responses to Mending Wall…Robert Frost

  1. Arthur Seder says:

    Hi Susannah – I take it your correspondent intends Frost’s poem as a statement against the wall currently at issue, in which case my commendation. I think this dispute is the rankest sort of political pandering by an entitled punk who STIFFS HIS VENDORS and who mocks the notion that anyone can grow up to be president. I do my best not to dignify it with my attention.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorryless says:


    Such a brilliant piece, and apropos of the time we’re living inside of indeed!

    One of my favorite parts . . .

    “Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
    What I was walling in or walling out”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. robprice59 says:

    I studied Robert Frost for O-level English Literature about forty-five years ago. I vaguely recall “stopping by the woods on a snowy evening”? He’s a mighty fine wordsmith. Thanks for unearthing this Susannah.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank this fellow who I never heard from before. My poetry level is at preschool level I’m embarrassed to admit, so it was quite enlightening to read it. And yes, Mr. Frost rocks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • robprice59 says:

        Poetry is so easy to neglect. It seems to have fallen from favour in the modern world. Yet there are some amazing pieces to inspire a flowering talent like you. Try Gerard Manley Hopkins, Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Thomas Gray or Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s art to appreciate it, and there are a few I do love like Whitman’s Crossing Brooklyn Ferry and Oh Captain, Oh Captain, his elegy to Lincoln along with, When Lilacs Last in the dooryard bloom’d. I should really open myself up to more poetry, no question Mick.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. skinnyuz2b says:

    Susannah, thanks for going the extra step and sharing this work in its entirety. And thanks to BAeast for being aware of it in the first place.
    I have to admit, I wasn’t sure if Frost was for or against the fence. Coming from a farming background, a good fence keeps your neighbor’s livestock out of your fields. It also prevents any misunderstandings about property lines. The poet’s intention could be taken either way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Frost has answers to very many things. One of my very fav poets, and the poem is one of my favs of his.If I remember correctly (a problem of late), I remember someone asking Frost what his “Two roads diverge” poem was really about. His answer was, “it’s about two roads diverging in a woods.” Gotta give the smart*** his due, I guess.


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