Mending The Wall

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 in 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
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"

See the translation in Farsi

The poem is a dramatic lyric on monologue. The speaker is a young man (persumably the poet himself) and the lyric is an expression of his view and attitudes. The monologue is descriptive and anecdotal.

The speaker and his neighbour get together every spring to repair the stone wall between thier respective properties. The neighbour who is an old farmer seems to have a deep face in value of walls and fences. The speaker is of the opposite opinion. As he points out : There where it is we do not need the wall; He is all pine and I am apple orchard.

The wall symbolises all kinds of man-mate barries. The wall suggests, the divisions between nations, classes, economic, racial, and religious groups and the like.

In short the poem represents two opposite attitudes toward life: The one is surrunder to the natural forces which draws human beings together, the other, the conservative which preceeds keeping up the distinction seperating them. Both are represented by two opposite type of characters one young and progressive, and the other old and conservative.

The style of the poet os colloquial and dramatic. The speaker asks questions and the himself answers them. The poem has been composed in blank verse.


Man can not live without walls, boundaries, limits, and particularly self-limitations.