Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn't love a wall.

Upon opening my eyes this morning, this very famous first line of a Robert Frost poem wiggled through my mind.   I considered it for most of the day and decided to read the poem (Mending Wall) aloud to see what it was that my subconscious was trying to tell me.   The poem, if you have not read it, is of a ritual between the poet and his neighbor.   Each spring, they come to a stone wall that separates their respective properties for annual upkeep.   They heft the stones back into place that have fallen during the winter, crumbled due to animals or accidentally spilled over from hunters eager for their prey.   The neighbor has the sentiment that "good fences make good neighbors" and yet Frost is hesitant.   He questions the necessity of this wall.  One of my favorite images from this poem is Frost illustrating that his apple trees will be no threat to the cones lying under his neighbor's pines.   But, they have come to rely upon this ritual of mending the wall each spring.   The reader understands by the end of the poem that if the wall did not exist at all, then really, no relationship between poet and neighbor would exist either.   They need this wall to continue their relationship.  

I came to see that this poem and the message of "something there is that doesn't love a wall" was really a calling to me to come to the boundary (the wall) that distances myself from my writing.   I have had a fear of picking up the pen, pounding away at the keyboard, jotting down my memories for about six months now.   So strange for me because writing is something I always do.   However, there is something heavy that holds me back.   I must determine what that weight is, why it exists and pull beyond it.   I am stumbling towards that wall, nervous to see the damage done by my own neglect.   I agree with Frost, I am uncomfortable with that wall as all writers are.  Every writer I know must confront that wall every time we sit down at the computer or journal.   Sometimes, we even run away from that wall and do not intend to visit.   It is too terrifying.   I am ready to examine this terror.   I am ready to mend this wall.

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