Since the beginning of the campaign in the US for the final Republican and Democratic nominees, I haven’t been able to get this poem out of my head. Perhaps I had such a wonderful professor for American Poetry that Robert Frost’s “The Mending Wall,” made such an impression on me.
Thirteen years after I’ve graduated, I still think about this poem and what wisdom Frost imparts to people in his own time and ours. Mainly he suggests his poem is less about literal walls or fences, but about how neighbors should treat each other. Whether you’ve read the poem or not, you may find certain correlations between Frost’s poem and the current political situation in the US.
I think the biggest issue Frost’s poem highlights is why we build walls in the first place. The line at the beginning of the poem: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” implies not all of us enjoy having walls between us and our neighbors (1). Frost isn’t merely talking about physical walls or fences but about the walls that exist in relationships between people.
It’s practical and helpful for to us to avoid petty arguments by having physical fences around our yards. But Frost suggests in “The Mending Wall,” it is not helpful at all, to have walls and distance between people and their relationships with one another. This can cause large rifts between people when they don’t agree or share a similar opinion. Communication and negotiation need to be encouraged, instead of building bigger walls. We forget many other people in this world are the same as us, going through similar trials. It doesn’t matter their religion or ethnicity, we’re all human.
Open communication and friendly communication is a necessary key to life. While physically we may have to “set the wall between us once again,” or have certain boundaries, I don’t recall stone walls every setting to right differences of opinion or thought (14). We can’t stop talking because we don’t agree, reaching for the best compromise available is vital.
Erecting a wall between the US and Mexico will affect US relationships with other nations, not only Mexico. It also makes the US government appear isolationist. Moreover, it affects other countries who would think it was okay to support their own selfish ideologies which are not democratic.
Isolationist countries and governments do not prosper in themselves or in helping their citizens prosper. In today’s world it is critical for us all to have open communication and at times compromise and not always get ‘our own way’ with other countries for the good of all; the current US government goes against this globalized view. Trump stands for himself and if you’re a lucky American who supports a view he does, he might stand for you too. But it’s not something I would count on in a person who is extremely unpredictable.
In Frost’s poem, the lines: “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,” show the utter absurdity of having such a thick solid wall between the narrator and his neighbor (23-27). Frost’s point in these lines is if the speaker and his neighbor acted neighborly, they wouldn’t require a fence between them. It’s absurd to have a wall between them because the narrator’s apples don’t eat his neighbor’s pine cones and vice versa. The neighbor lacks insight into the situation.
He is similar to Trump who wants a wall between the US and Mexico beyond the border which already exists. Trump is akin to the neighbor insisting ” . . . good fences make good neighbors.” Truly walls break down relations between people and invite people to spew hatred and feel they are entitled to act badly and Trump’s actions are encouraging this behavior (27). People have choices to act how their conscience tells them, but when the government decides on input-less actions that destroy relations with other parts of the world and with US citizens, this government is self-serving.
Frost’s speaker also wonders about this wall he and his neighbor always fix in spring. He asks “. . . why do [fences] make good neighbors . . . ” commenting that “[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 offense” (32-34). For me, these lines are shockingly apt in current US politics.
In Robert Frost’s poem “The Mending Wall,” the wall is not only a physical wall/fence it’s symbolic of relations between neighbors and metaphorical walls between people, in a broader sense, all sovereign nations. Trump insists on building a wall because it will wall out drugs from entering the US. He also believes he is keeping out illegal immigrates as well as crime. I think Frost would say, Trump is missing the bigger picture.
To my knowledge, Obama never had outstanding issues with Mexico. Most of us are aware of the drugs going back and forth across the border from Mexico and the people who want to leave Mexico for a better life. I would argue as many have, one way or another, the immigrants who want to get through are going to find a way through.
We also know for a fact, there are already tunnels to bring drugs into the US. If Trump wants to stop drug cartels from selling drugs, maybe he should focus on his own citizens involved in the purchase and selling of drugs. If you take away the market, perhaps you stop drug trafficking; however, my hunch is if Mexico sells fewer drugs, those who want or need drugs, will find another source.
Additionally, Frost’s line about giving “offense” is relatable to Trump not caring what Mexico thinks about the wall (34). He wants to make them pay for it and he doesn’t care that their President refused. He offended Mexico and its citizens; hopefully, he doesn’t plan on vacationing there anytime soon as many US citizens like to do. He’s going to make it difficult for US citizens wanting to vacation in Mexico and other places around the world in general. I’ve meant many wonderful American citizens on vacations but I know there are places where they still have to wear a Canadain flag on their outfit, so they are not thought be Americans. I would hate for this to be worse because of current affairs.
He’s going to make it difficult for US citizens wanting to vacation in Mexico and other places around the world in general. I’ve met many wonderful American citizens on vacations but I know there are places where they still have to wear a Canadain flag on their outfit, so they are not thought be Americans because it would be dangerous to them or their cash supply. I would hate for this to be worse because of current affairs in the US.
As well, Trump offended the Mexican President who refused to visit the US after Trump announced the wall. He’s set back relations with his physical and symbolic wall with Mexico. I believe US dealings with other countries will suffer setbacks as well because I think other nations will see US actions and be less inclined to trust their government and Trump.
The most curious part to me is how one man can destroy relations with other countries around the word so quickly through his lack of diplomacy and unwillingness to cooperate. I don’t want the US, Canada, or anywhere to be larger targets for radical terrorists or desperate criminals because Trump is blocking people from migrating to the US from the Middle East. Many people there are like us, regular people who don’t deserve to be labeled terrorists due to their religion. Some of those people require help due to actual terrorists such as ISIS, who are making it difficult for them to meet their basic needs.
Frost also writes in his poem about those who don’t love walls and would like them down. His narrator sees no need for the wall and thinks he could tell his neighbor, “‘I could say “Elves” to him, / [but] it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather / [he] said it for himself (35 – 38). Frost implies the neighbor needs to recognize for himself and ‘say’ for himself, that the physical and metaphorical wall between them is absurd.
I think the same principles apply to Trump and his wall. The wall is a thoughtless law as well as the symbolic breaking down of US relations with other countries such as Mexico and realistically, several others. The current US President won’t ever admit he is wrong.
In the end, I find the situation with Trump and the US government much the same as Frost describes the neighbour in his poem: “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 (40 – 42). To the narrator of Frost’s poem, rebuilding the wall between his neighbour and him is a game.
He even wonders if he could put “a notion” in his neighbours head and say “[elves]” made the stones fall out of place (29,37). But to the neighbour such as the US government, this is no game. While the rest of us mock Trump and have “mischief” in us as we read daily what Trump’s decided to do now, we are also somewhat afraid.
Trump walks around as Frost’s speaker’s neighbor, “an old-stone savage armed . . . [moving] in darkness . . . (40-41). This darkness is as an ignorance and not only of “woods . . . and the shade of trees (42).” I cannot imagine all the duties a President has; however, I do know about starting a new job as I’m sure many people can relate to.
Often, it is best to let things be done the way they have been done, to learn the experience and the wisdom behind the methods people use currently, before implementing massive change. At times, we think our own way of doing something is better. Then one day it hits us why something was done a certain way, how much easier it is to keep doing it that particular way. Once you learn how things are done, then changes can be implemented with reason and with experience behind that reasoning.
With US relations with its own citizens and the citizens of the world, we can only hope Trump ends his walk in darkness and ignorance. Perhaps one day he will step into the light and see why past Presidents acted how they did in certain matters? That he was elected by citizens and speaks and acts for them.
It’s my hope he searches beyond his own experience, what he’s been able to do freely as wealthy and powerful man. I hope he listens to the people who elected him and acts with discernment, that he learns to think before he acts. One encouraging thing about Trump I did hear was his admiration of Winston Churchill.
In conclusion, Frost calls his poem “The Mending Wall” because he hopes each year relations with his neighbour will improve, that eventually they won’t need a wall between them. Can we hope this much of the new US government? That they will not build walls to isolate their country? That they will not only think about themselves in this diverse, multicultural, and globalized world? I hope so. I’d hope Trump eventually learns to mend relations with his neighbours and not to snub them or God forbid, cause war. I hope he learns to see beyond the saying, ” . . . [good] fences make good neighbours” (45).
It is always a struggle to find the perfect hair products for your hair, especially if your hair is long. For the last few years I have been using Groupons to find hair salons to get my hair done. Not only did it save money but it was interesting to talk to various hair stylists and finally, find the hair stylist that I was going to stay with. In Edmonton, Alberta, Canada my favourite places to visit for a haircut and/or highlights were Chrome, Dandy Salon, Evelline Charles Downtown, Fluid Hair, and Icon Hair. I ultimately, went with Icon for my hair. My hair stylist does a fab job and there is also a spa associated with this hair salon. But my second choice would be Fluid because they did a great job on my hair. Unfortunately, there is no spa attached, they’re just a hair salon.
The products that I have been using on my hair have been from Fluid and Icon. I like them because they work well with my hair and address specific issues I deal with.
1. Davines Strong Hairspray – (www.us.davines.com) – $29.00 -Davines Strong Hairspray delivers a fine mist of hairspray that “gives structure, endures humidity, can be worked after application, dries out quickly, and is easy to remove.” The product is paraben free with no added colourings; it also gives extra “moisture” and “bounce.” My own experience with this hairspray has been a bit of a journey. I was not to happy with it at first even though I knew it was a more environmentally-friendly hairspray then the one I had been using. But it grew on me. I learned not to apply a lot like you do with many other hairsprays. A few sprays about 30 cm from your head will do the trick. What I like I about it is that despite the fact that it is a strong holding hairspray it is pretty easy to rework the hairspray if you change your mind and want to do a different hairstyle or redo your hair on the second day. Ultimately, I ended up being very happy with the product. I am almost out and will buy it again. Usually, I go with a more flexible hairspray but Davines allowed me to use it as a hairspray that was flexible and as a final spray to keep my hair in place. They do have a flexible hold hairspray if this is not a flexible enough hairspray for you. This hairspray has lasted me about nine months so it not something you are going to have to be purchasing often.
2. Davines Volume Boosting Moose (www.us.davines.com) – $26.00 – This moose is a volume boosting moose with the texture of “snow.” It is compact and light to the touch with a medium hold. You apply it to damp, towel dried hair and it and all Davines products are Carbon – neutral/ Zero Impact products to the environment. This is one of the best mooses I have used. I find I need something to make my hair have volume or my long length and large amount of hair weigh my hair itdown and it sits on my head flat and straight. I have been using this moose for several months now and I am impressed by how long it lasts. The container lasts about three or four months. I have long hair but I don’t find I have to spray a large amount of form to keep putting in my hair. One palm full is fine and my hair is good to go for blow drying. The only bad aspect of this moose is that if you want to leave your hair to dry without a blow dryer it doesn’t work that well. Your hair doesn’t looking nice if you leave it to air dry with this moose. However, it does seem to work well when I attempt to curl my hair giving my curls more hold then other mooses have.
3. Daven’s Award Winning Sea Salt Spray (www.us.davens.com) – $27.00 – This product is a styling spray that gives the hair “fullness” and “body” with a matte finish. It gives “texture, extreme volume, light control, a dry effect – tousled and beach like waves, and body minimizing the electrostatic effect.” It is a paraben free product with no added color. You can spray the sea salt spray into wet hair to increase the body or spray it into dry hair to increase the volume and give a matte effect. I bought a travel size version of this product to give my hair exactly what it is says “volume” and “body” but I haven’t been pleased with the results. I thought I was using the product incorrectly so I asked my hair stylist how to use it and she says the best way to use it is to apply it to damp hair and let your hair dry without a blow dryer. I tried that several times and while it did give a beach-like wave it looked like I left my hair to dry wet and that I just hadn’t bothered to do it. It doesn’t work for me well even if I blow dry my hair after using it. My hair ends up fuzzy, dry, and flat because of the salt which can dry hair out. So, perhaps, this would work for people with thinner hair or hair that is less fine then mine. Altogether, was not a fan of this product.
4.Unite 7 Second Spray in Conditioner and Hair Protectant – (www.shop.unitehair.com) – $32.00 for 8 0z.- I love this product. It smells wonderful and it works great. Within 7 seconds my tangled hair is easy to comb out after my shower. Your hair is nourished by protein and mostirizures after using Unite. It is also a UV and thermal protectant. The product also “locks” in col0r; repairs, protects and strengthens hair; and is free of parabens and sodium chloride. All you have to do is towel dry your hair and spray “4 to 6 times” in your and then you can put in your other styling products. I can’t say enough about this product it is one of my all time favourite products and I would highly recommend it to anyone whose wants a thermal protectant and also needs a bit of moisture in their hair, especially in Winter.
5. Unite Texturiza Spray – Dry Finishing – (www.shop.unitehair.com) – $35.00 – I actually came upon this product on my own. I knew I needed a good texturizing spray for some of the updos I try to do from Kate at The Small Things Blog so when I picked up some of the 7 second Conditioning Spray I tried this texturizer and I am thrilled with it. This spray adds “texture, volume, and fullness” to dry hair. It is a dry translucent finishing spray and will add “unbelievable” volume and texture all day and night. It has a medium workable hold. An example of when I use this spray is when I want to achieve an undone bun in my hair. I tease my upper-crown with Bedhead Rockaholic Dry Shampoo and then spray the rest of my hair with the Unite texturizer. Automatically, my hair becomes bigger and poofier and I have great texture to pick my hair up from the sides and twist it into a messy bun. Or I spray some in my hair before I braid it to give my hair texture so the braid sticks together as I braid it. It is very much preferable to me then a texturizing powder. Although your hair feels like it has texture on it it’s not an awful amount compared to the texturizing powder which leaves your hair feeling gross. Pretty much any hairstyle where you want some lift in your roots, this is a great product for. I highly recommend it.
Also, just a short blip about the Rockaholic Dry Shampoo. If you are like me and have trouble getting your hair to stay volumized at the crown a good salon brand Dry Shampoo is great to tease your hair with until it gets that bump in the back. I have been using it forever now and it’s about $25.00 to $30.00 Canadian and can be found online (www.ulta.com) or at most salons. I didn’t want to do a separate blurb on it as I already talked about it when I compared dry shampoos awhile back. Look in my beauty blogs for that particular blog.
Another product I use when I get samples is a 5 in 1 hair styling product from Living Proof. It is fantastic to use if you just want to leave your hair down and want it to look healthy, have volume, and sit nice on your head. It is great but I also have blogged about it and it can be found at Sephora for $32.00 Canadian. I would use this more often but such as all Living Proof products they work wonderful but the price for a small bottle that doesn’t last long keeps me from committing to it.
Lastly here are some great hair videos from The Small Things Blog so you can do a few things with your new hair products.
1. Dove Dry Shampoo (aprox. $7.00 Shoppers Drugmart) – Dry Shampoo, according to what I’ve learned, is supposed to do two things to your hair. Dry Shampoo is supposed to give your hair life for a second day (make it cleaner by absorbing oil) and it is also supposed to volumize your hair. The best dry shampoos are so good as volumizers that you can use them to rough up your hair and give it texture, even tease your hair at the crown (for instance) to get lift. Dove is not one of those dry shampoos that gives much volume. It smells wonderful and makes your hair feel soft and cleaner but it does not give your hair any lift. In general, I have learnt that only the more expensive dry shampoos will do this. I was told this by my hair dresser and through purchasing cheaper dry shampoos thinking they might work to create texture and volume I learned I was wrong. Cheaper dry shampoos do not give texture and volume
2. Batiste Dry Shampoo (aprox. $10.00 Shoppers Drugmart) – Although this dry
shampoo was a bit more expensive then the Dove dry shampoo it had about the same effect. It was good as a dry shampoo to keep your locks cleaner on a second day but it wasn’t much good for texture or volume. It did help my hair feel really clean and it smelled great. The one I chose smelled like pineapples because it had a tropical scent but for creating hair styles that needed teasing it was not a very useful dry shampoo. It could not put volume in my hair at all.
3. Kevin Murphy Fresh Hair Dry Shampoo (aprox $26,00 at certain Salon’s ie.The Beauty Lounge, Chrome in Edmonton, Dandy Salon and Spa ) – I loved how light and citrusy this dry shampoo smelled. It was divine and when you sprayed it into your roots ( you do that on the first day btw not the second day as most people think, my hair stylist told me this at Chrome in Edmonton) it is still light and not too thick that it makes your hair feel icky and coated. Yet at the same time, it works as an excellent volumizing and texturizing spray. It was easy to tease my hair so I could back comb it and create chignons or just a little lift to the back of my hair. I loved it except for the price. It only lasts a little over a month. The bottle is quite small but it is effective as both a way to keep your hair fresh and volumize it.It is also antioxidant rich and paraben free.
Spasation Salon) – I love this dry shampoo and it is my favorite! It is not quite the most clean feeling when you put it in your hair because it is more suited to creating texture but it still works to make your hair cleaner on the second day and absorb oil. It is the best and most excellent volumizer and texturizer. I receive great lift from my hair with this dry shampoo and it is so easy to tease your hair with Rockaholic in, even on a second day, by just spraying a bit of this into your roots on the first day you wash your hair. I love the smell and especially that Rockaholic lasts longer then 2 months for each bottle. It is an excellent value for the price and works by far (for me) the most effectively of all 4 dry shampoos I have featured here. It cleans, texturizes, volumizes, and is a great price value.