Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
said Robert Frost that one time.
He was making
a point about how weird it is to think
walls help anything, that the earth itself hates them
and tears them to little wall bits;
you had to keep at them to keep them whole;
something there is that knocks them down
then knocks them down again.
What he didn’t say: something there is in us
that doesn’t love another. Something in us
that doesn’t love, that pays love lip service
even as it short sells love against some imagined
future gain, and that’s the force that builds the wall.
Perhaps he did say it when he said so little
about the neighbor who comes to set the wall
back in place, who only knows how to repeat
what his father told him even as he casts aside
the poet’s note about the folly of pines and apples
devouring each other?
Perhaps when the speaker named the neighbor
as some risen caveman wielding stone
he was trying to tell us something —
Frost by all accounts was himself
a bastard and a half
and he might have had
a moment of clarity there
when he put the speaker
right there beside the savage
as the two of them mended wall;
think on that —
even though he knew
every wall will someday fall,
that in the long run
that wall would do nothing,
a man stood beside another man
and together they built
a useless wall.