Good Fences = Good Neighbors?

I spied again someone quote Frost's “Mending Wall.”  The article's author used the famous line that “good fences make good neighbors” to bolster his argument that indeed good fences make good neighbors. I wonder though, after reading his article, if he had taken the time to read Frost's poem.  He took the statement at face value and not in the spirit in which Frost intended it.  I don't think Frost had any intention of making a sweeping social commentary, but his disdain for the wall is evident from reading.

Read of it what you will:

“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 he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'”

–From the poem “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost | Full version here:
–If you want to listen to Robert Frost read it and see some cool typography, play the video below.  The audio was recorded in Frost's Home in 1956.

I admit to being a fan of Robert Frost, although “Mending Wall” was not one of my favorites. I'd much rather be “Stopping by Woods on a Snowing Evening,” or taking a walk down “The Road Not Taken.”  As to whether I agree with Frost?  I like fences – they make nice boundaries, especially if you have cows.

Posted via email from Brian Junyor's Stream