Summary of Mending Wall by Robert Frost
‘Mending Wall’ is one of the finest poems written by the American poet Robert Frost. It was published in his collection “North of Boston” in 1914. The complex multidimensionality of the poem questions the necessity of borders in today’s worlds and our lives which make it so hard to live the way one should naturally live.
There are 45 lines in the poem without any rhyming scheme.
It begins with the famous line something there is that doesn’t love a wall. That mystery of Nature is captured here which is beyond the conception of human beings. The poet says that human beings may build walls but there is something which doesn’t love this so the ground beneath the wall starts swelling from inside causing it to fall apart. In the heat of sun, the upper boulders start falling out of the wall further and creates a gap through which two can pass abreast.
The poet makes clear that it is not hunters who break the wall. Their work is another thing. He has come after them and repaired the gap which they make in the wall for their yelping dogs running after the rabbit. He is talking about another kind of mysterious gaps which are made by itself over a period in such a way that No one has seen them made or heard them made. In spring season, the mending time comes for the wall. The poet calls his neighbour from beyond the hill and they meet to walk the line and check out the status of the wall which divides their property.
They walk along the line whereas the wall is standing between them. The boulders have fallen to the both sides and each of them put them back in balance. Their fingers become rough by dealing with boulders so long.
It is like just another kind of out-door game but the poet starts questioning that it comes to a point where they don’t even need a wall because he has an apple orchard and his neighbour has only pine trees. There is no way that his apple trees will go across the wall and eat his pine cones. Yet his neighbour says that good fences make good neighbors.
The poet says that the spring time makes him mischievous so he questions again that why the fences make good neighbours. One may need fences where there are cows but they don’t have cows here. Firmly he questions that what is it exactly that he was walling in or walling out or giving offense before the wall was even built. He again reiterates that something there is that doesn’t love a wall, that wants it down.
He could say that it is elves but it is not. He sees his neighbour bringing a stone firmly as if he is an old-stone savage. It seems to the poet as if his neighbour moves in darkness and it is a different darkness not only thr literal darkness as the result of dense woods or the shade of trees. Anyone who builds a border, divide things is in darkness. The poet thinks that the neighbour is probably happy of having though of it so well what his father said that ‘good fences make good neighbours.’
The poet makes us think whether walls are even necessary or they are primitive in front of a broader thought.