“Something there is that doesn't love a wall,” writes Robert Frost in his poem Mending Wall, published in 1914.
Dear Mr. Frost,
With a full heart, I say thank you for your creative brilliance that is just as relevant now as ever before. Your artistry is a light of consciousness that continues to burn brightly. As a fellow artist and lover of words, it is a pleasure to revisit your works, draw inspiration and build upon them in service to our growth in the 21st-century.
In our time, the preoccupation with walls has grown larger, not smaller, which has led me back to your poem Mending Wall. I am especially drawn to the verse you wrote twice, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.”
I feel it in my bones. My paraphrase: there is something that doesn’t love a wall—something that animates people to escape entrapments even at the risk of losing their lives. This something that doesn’t love a wall shows up repeatedly; yet, it doesn’t seem to be sinking in to our collective consciousness. In countless contexts, “us vs. them” is expressed in our world, feeding fear that keeps us divided and untrusting of one another.
History offers many examples of massive walls (created for a temporary gain) that have come down or have fallen short of upholding their intended goal. A few examples: the Wall of Jericho, The Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall, Wall Street’s Wall, Kremlin’s Wall, the Berlin Wall, and so forth.
Based on previous outcomes, it seems fair to predict that walls built upon fear or greed don’t stand a chance and, given enough time, will fail. I say this not with the credential of being a historian but with the ability to simply notice this something that doesn’t love a wall. There can never be a wall big enough or strong enough to outlast this something that is the very essence of our Nature—the breath of all Existence that cannot be contained.
This something is free and limitless by its inherent nature. So, how could we possibly think anything that opposes it could be sustained? When we collectively know this with every fiber, we’ll be on our way to creating a world that honors every life with the dignity of inclusion and respectful care.
Let us hope, Mr. Frost, we’re making progress helping one another around the globe in spite of how things appear via main stream media. Currently, “reality,” as it is shown to us, is distorted by drama and conflict that boosts ratings. Hope springs eternal within me that divisive “entertainment” news misrepresents the heart of the whole by choosing not to feature more positive service happening in every nation. There are countless people and organizations, globally, that are contributing to the well-being of people and planet beyond borders.
Abundant coverage of wholehearted works across nations is the good media medicine we need around the world, in my opinion. To think mainstream media will switch to more uplifting features any time soon is unrealistic; so, it’s up to us as everyday people to look for the good, capture it, and share it. The call for up-media is answered in this “poemograhy,” acknowledging those who are working diligently to create a better world.
In addition to service-minded actions, doing “good” can happen in every moment being mindful with our words—something you do masterfully, Mr. Frost. In Mending Wall, you questioned the old proverb, “Good fences make good neighbors,” asking...
“'Why do they make good neighbors?
Isn't it where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.”
On a similar note, people today use the idiom “mending fences” as a reference to repairing relationships. I appreciate the spirit from which the phrase is used; however, it seems unfitting for a time that begs for a global group hug.
Why keep expressions that paint a picture of division while attempting to say something sort-of positive? Please. May these wall-sayings rest in peace and let us carry on without them.
This is a time where many of us feel overwhelmed and confused about what we can offer as individuals to contribute to the well-being of our world. As an example, Mr. Frost, you showed us what we can do—choose our words carefully and use our creative energy to inspire rather than deflate the Spirit of an audience. There are many issues we cannot solve alone; what we can do, each day, is communicate better.
This is worth an underscore: words matter. Many have survived, and others have died, because of them. We have it within us to be impeccable with our communication when we’re awake to it and willing. What we can do is use a tone that is calm, choose words that unify rather than inflame, and disagree respectfully. We can ask rather than assume, listen to understand, and invite conversations to resolve our biggest challenges.
We can hold the vision of a world in which people, especially high-profile leaders, communicate honorably and work to improve the quality of life for one another, regardless of borders. Last but not least, we can remove barriers in our own communities, understanding that walls built upon fear, hatred, and aggression will never stand the test of time or bring harmony to a world that undeniably aches for it.
The issues before us are complex. Promoting fear and fueling judgment through rigid separation complicate matters further. We can do better. The something-that-doesn’t-love-a-wall knows we can.
Thank you, Mr. Frost, for creatively attending to this topic over 100 years ago. It is my intention to continue this conversation in hopes that our creativity and collective contributions will move us from mending fences to building bridges where walls have stood.
P.S. I, too, have chosen poetry as a creative contribution to this topic. In our day, you could call it Poetry with Benefits, utilizing technology to make artistry multi-dimensional. The poemography can be viewed here.
Building Bridges Where Walls Have Stood, by Korrine Holt