Robert Frost’s “The Mending Wall” and Current Political Significance in the US and the World.


Credit: http://www.darkmediaonline.com

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).


The Mending Wall

By Robert Frost

*****
1. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

2. That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
3. And spills the upper boulders in the sun;

4. And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

5. The work of hunters is another thing:

6. I have come after them and made repair

7. Where they have left not one stone on a stone,

8. But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,

9. To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,

10. No one has seen them made or heard them made,

11. But at spring mending-time we find them there.

12. I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;

13. And on a day we meet to walk the line

14. And set the wall between us once again.

15. We keep the wall between us as we go.

16. To each the boulders that have fallen to each.

17. And some are loaves and some so nearly balls

18. We have to use a spell to make them balance:

19. “Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”

20. We wear our fingers rough with handling them.

21. Oh, just another kind of out-door game,

22. One on a side. It comes to little more:

23. There where it is we do not need the wall:

24. He is all pine and I am apple orchard.

25. My apple trees will never get across

26. And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.

27. He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

28. Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder

29. If I could put a notion in his head:

30. “Why do they make good neighbours? Isn’t it

31. Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.

32. Before I built a wall I’d ask to know

33. What I was walling in or walling out,

34. And to whom I was like to give offence.

35. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

36. That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,

37. But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather

38. He said it for himself. I see him there

39. Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top

40. In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.

41.He moves in darkness as it seems to me,

42. Not of woods only and the shade of trees.

43. He will not go behind his father’s saying,

44. And he likes having thought of it so well

45. He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

*****


See Poetry Foundation: The Mending Wall by Robert Frost.


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

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Interview With Jade M. Wong


Welcome back to my biweekly interview series. I hope you all had an amazing holiday and I would like to start the New Year off right with an interview from the sweet and gifted Jade M. Wong. Her blog is called: Jade M. Wong – Writer At Heart. Fangirl by DNA. Struggling Human Until Further Notice.


jade-m-wong
Jade M. Wong

1. Jade, Please Tell Us About Yourself?

I’m a New York City girl named Jade M. Wong. In short, I’m a writer in my heart, a fan-girl by DNA, and a struggling human until further notice. I’m often up until 4:00 am at night battling inconvenient words and fantastical stories. If  I were a gazillionaire, I wouldn’t buy a mansion, but a cozy apartment in every city I love. In the meantime, I make do with cozy corners across the internet-sphere.


2. When Did You Start Writing and Blogging and What Does It Mean To You? Why Do You Write?

I’ve been writing and blogging on and off for as long as I can remember. But life has a way of kicking my butt. It’s only this year that I’ve finally been writing and blogging regularly. I’d like to think that ‘life’ and I are now reluctant dance partners and not bitter enemies.

I write because its a way to put myself onto the the page with words. This helps me when I’m trying to revise my writing. I learn where in a particular piece, I am writing badly and where I am writing well. This is a kind of therapy for me and medicine for whatever I’m dealing with in life at the moment.


“I’m often up until 4:00 am at night battling inconvenient words and fantastical stories.” – Jade M.Wong


3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write? Is There a Time of Day You Most Enjoy Writing?

Figuratively speaking, I have a muse. She’s a little fairy with thin arms, tiny hands, a sarcastic sense of humor, and a brilliant mind. She’s been with me as long as I can remember, always sending me bits of inspiration at inconvenient times. As a result, I find inspiration in every moment of every day. Not writing, well, it’s simply unthinkable.

My favorite time to write is after the sun sets, when the world is asleep except for me and my muse, and I don’t have to worry about what tomorrow brings.


4. Do You Have Any Current Writing Projects? Can You Tell Us A Little About Them?

I’m currently working on a collection of poetry, as well as playing around with a novel idea (or two). I’ve noticed, the more I write, the more excited my muse becomes and the more ideas flow into my mind. Uncanny how this works, isn’t it?

My published works include a short story titled: Glow In The Dark Stars, which can be seen in The Ghouls’ Review, along with anything I may publish in the future.


:Figuratively speaking, I have a muse. She’s a little fairy with thin arms, tiny hands, a sarcastic sense of humor, and a brilliant mind. She’s been with me as long as I can remember . . .” – Jade M. Wong


5. Can You Briefly Describe The Process You Have Gone Through To Publish Your Writing? What Is Your Writing Process Like?

*Disclaimer: I am definitely not an expert in the world of publishing.*When it comes to publishing, I’ve found it most important to follow the guidelines for each individual magazine I submit to, and to keep my fingers crossed.

My writing process is one part on-the-go and one part wrapped up under my covers like a burrito. During the day as I’m commuting, I write a lot on my phone. When I get home at night, I grab my laptop, get comfortable on my bed with a cup of tea, and write until my muse falls asleep. 


6. Do You Have a Preference For Certain Areas of Writing or Reading Styles or Genres?

My favorite genres to write and read are fantasy, romantic-comedy, young adult fiction, and cozy mysteries, but I’m always willing to try new genres. For example, I recently fell in love with a memoir, Lucky by Alice Sebold, despite the fact my whole life up until then, I tended to steer away from nonfiction.


“When I get home at night, I grab my laptop, get comfortable on my bed with a cup of tea, and write until my muse falls asleep.” – Jade M. Wong


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7. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice to Give to Other Writers?

The advice I have to pass along comes originally from a writers more successful than myself. Who better to learn from, right?

J.K. Rowling, the author of the iconic Harry Potter series says: “Sometimes, you have to get your writing done in spare moments here and there.”

Many of us dream of having long days filled with nothing but writing. Perhaps one day, our dreams can be a reality. Right now, however, most of us have jobs we need to pay the bills but we also realize words don’t write themselves. Sometimes, the best time for a writer to write is in the small seconds we have between responsibilities.


8. Is There Anything Else You Want To Share With Us, Pertinent to Your Writing or Yourself?

To everyone trying to be writers, artists, doctors, or architects (etc.) I hope we never give up trying to achieve our dreams.

To everyone trying to change the world, one moment of bravery at a time, I hope we remember love will always trump hate. The world will always needs dreamers as much as it needs doers.

To everyone trying to be themselves, I hope we remember that we are always worth it.


“Many of us dream of having long days filled with nothing but writing. Perhaps one day, our dreams can be a reality. Right now, however, most of us have jobs we need to pay the bills but we also realize words don’t write themselves. Sometimes, the best time for a writer to write is in the small seconds we have between responsibilities.” – Jade M. Won


9. Please Share With Us Your Top Three Favorite Blogs?

In no particular order:

  1. Cooking With A Wallflower – This is a cooking blog, hosted by a lady named Andrea. I love her recipes and all her wallflower finds!
  2. Terrible Minds – This is the blog of Chuck Wendig. He’s a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He blogs about everything from writing to pop culture, and he always makes me laugh. He also uses a lot of swear words and other not-safe-for-kids language, so that may deter you, but I hope it doesn’t.
  3. I’ve also ‘met’ several bloggers on WordPress whom I consider friends, even if I have yet to meet any of them. Their blogs are my favorites, because they are so dear to me. A few of them include: A Reading Writer, Doodles and Scribbles, and Melinda Kucsera, but there are many others!

10. Please Share With Us Some Writing From Your Blog Which You Most Love:

orchid
Credit: http://www.pinterest.com

[Poetry] Everything To Lose

By Jade M. Wong

What was it like to love him?
To answer that question, you need to ask me another,
What was it like to know him?
The man I knew was not known to any other.
He was shy and he was kind,
And he struggled relentlessly with a broken mind.
He showed the world a face that was empty
And he saved his shattered soul for me.
Loving him was loving those pieces
It was taking his soul and smoothing out the creases
It was loving a man so in tune with my needs
He’d rather my heart be whole while his own bleeds.
Why did you love him if it was so hard?
Hard? Loving him was easy, as easy as breathing,
As easy as letting the light in, healing,
Because loving him was embracing both the light and the dark,
It flowed like a stream and like hot fire, it sparked.
Why did you love him?
I loved him because I loved myself
Because I deserved a love like nothing else
I loved him because I had the right to choose
And together with him, we had everything to lose.

© Jade M. Wong 2016


10. Here Are Some Additional Works By Jade You Can Read:

  • A Single Teardrop –  By Jade M. Wong – If you’re a lover of rain…or secret stories.
  • Between The Lines – By Jade M. Wong – If you ever need to know, you are not alone.
  • Stuck – By Jade M. Wong – If you’ve ever felt trapped.

Thank you to Jade for agreeing to be interviewed and answering the interview questions with such personality and care. Jade is an amazing writer and here is her blog link again, in case you’ve missed it: Jade M. Wong


Every two-weeks I feature a writer and/or blogger interview. Some writers are published, some are only starting out, some are only in high school and some are more mature adults. Whoever you are or wherever you are in life, I would love to interview you and feature you on my biweekly blog series. If you’re interested in this please send me a message on my Contact Page. See you in two-weeks!


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Sunday Photo Fiction: Some People Never Learn.


“Oh god, it’s behind us. I don’t know how long I can keep running.” Derek shouted.

“Don’t stop, if you do, T-Rex is going to eat you alive, run faster!” Evan screamed.

“Ah, he almost had me there.” Derek yelled breathing a sigh of relief as he dodged T-Rex’s sharp teeth. “Thank god, he has a small brain, despite everything they’ve done to enhance him.” 

Derek hid behind an old building staying perfectly still. If Jurassic Park had taught him anything it was that a T-Rex couldn’t see you if you didn’t move. They couldn’t right? 

“Ah, no…aghhhhh.” Derek heard Evan screaming. Derek concentrated on keeping his breathing deep and even.

An entire series of books on bringing dinosaurs back to life had been written by Michael Crichton and made into graphic movies, yet President Trump decided that the Island of Bikini was the perfect place to make dinosaurs exist once more.

Not only had his scientific team cloned dinosaurs such as the T-Rex, they had also genetically altered their DNA making T-Rex a more intelligent dinosaur.

Additionally, the President’s team had cloned and altered these dinosaurs on the Island of Bikini where nuclear weapons were tested in WWII. The island was a mess of radioactivitiy which further mutated the dinosaurs DNA giving them greater stealth and prowess.

Derek had to warn people, convince the President to nuke the island so these beasts never got further then Bikini. Derek was going to move but it was too late, Mama T-Rex had known where Derek was all along. She clenched her mouth around Derek’s body as he screamed in agony. 

Out in the ocean, the large luxury ocean liner with the President and his scientific team, heard Derek’s screams. They turned away from the giant screen displaying his terrible death.

President Trump was angry. His team’s manipulation and creation of dinosaurs was going horribly wrong and he didn’t know why.

Under the surface of the gigantic ocean liner, an even greater and more terrifying dinosaur swam underneath the boat, flipping the ocean liner and eating everyone inside.

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Sorry whatever I did, the dinosaur picture wouldn’t upload. So imagine a T-Rex is about to eat you. . .

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Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF.

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.