After Robert Frost – Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
that sends children across,
risking desert thirst to dream another life.
The work of coyotes is another thing:
there is self-interest there.
They leave not one kindness on another,
but are all about the money.

There are differences between us
languages, the way we dance or pray,
the stories that we tell —
but they are less boulders
than builders – the living stones
that remind us to be
not “great again” but grateful.

We’d need a spell to make it balance:
walls are not meant to stay —
we wear our fingers
till they bleed with tending them.
The truth is we do not need a wall,
and even less to send the travelers back
with their Spanish songs, or perhaps hijab.

The man with unusual hair says
(as if his saying makes it so)
‘Good fences make good neighbors.’
November eighth is the mischief in me,
and I want to put a notion in his head –
Isn’t that where there are terrorists?
But these are no more terrorists
than pine cones are to apples.

Before I build a wall I want to know
what I was walling in —
a legacy of hating for our children
or walling out — the desperate
and very gifted of the world.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
that wants it down.’ I could say “courage.”
or maybe “hope,” but I’d rather
those who listen to him
meet an immigrant face to face.

I see them there with signs and stones
grasped firmly, also razor wire and guards.
They move in darkness as it seems to me.
Not of border patrol only,
or graffiti on a mosque.

They will not even hear the stories
of the new Americans coming
to make this people strong,
but like a campaign slogan,
or a child afraid
of what’s under the bed in the night —
they say again,
breaking the nation’s heart —
‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

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4 Responses to After Robert Frost – Mending Wall

  1. Stephen Price says:

    Amen. I hope, one day, to have your grace, your ability to hold so gently the things that fill me with such rage. Your words bring me to tears that soften that rage into something God can work with-a heat that can warm, but doesn’t destroy. Thank you for that gift.

  2. Maren says:

    Thank you so much, Stephen.

  3. Andrea ( aka rokinrev) says:

    Brava Maren! Amen

  4. Maren says:

    Thank you, Andrea. On this I let Frost be my teacher.

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