2nd Prize – Open Competition
Thoughts on Robert Frost's 'Mending Wall'
'Something there is that doesn't love a wall.'
In our street, it's valerian, self-sown
in every crevice, defiant of brickwork,
sending its roots beneath the worn old stocks
that delineate front gardens, then heaving,
like the shoulders of a restless sleeper
shrugging off the duvet; or burrowing
beneath the ramparts, like engineers of old.
But Frost wanted to know, before mending,
what he was 'walling out or walling in',
if marauding livestock was not in question,
and wondered how others viewed his barricades.
I remember the open plan gardens
of a sixties estate, design intentions
slowly subverted by slyly-planted
shrub or hedge – Goodness, has it grown that fast?
Roaming sheep or vandal hordes, pissing dogs
or new ideas – it is the work of lifetimes
to keep them out, enfold our precious secrets,
build up defences, mend the wall, stand sentry
over self; while spores float helium-light upon
the breeze, all negligent of boundaries,
intent solely on dissemination,
on tearing down barriers, on getting in.