Lines from Robert Frost poems show up in the most benign places: middle school bulletin boards, motivational posters, bed and breakfast dining rooms. But if you get past the famous lines, you suddenly see the darkness of Robert Frost. The misery. The backbreaking work of existence. Also, you see something more: He hated people.
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 repairWhere 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 lineAnd 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 ballsWe 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 acrossAnd 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 wonderIf I could put a notion in his head:“Why do they make good neighbours? Isn’t itWhere there are cows? But here there are no cows.Before I built a wall I’d ask to knowWhat 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 ratherHe said it for himself. I see him thereBringing a stone grasped firmly by the topIn 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 wellHe says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
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