Poetry

Robert Frost, “A Case for Jefferson”

Robert Frost

by Robert Frost
from Steeple Bush (1947)

Harrison loves my country too,
But wants it all made over new.
He’s Freudian Viennese by night.
By day he’s Marxian Muscovite.
It isn’t because he’s Russian Jew.
He’s Puritan Yankee through and through.
He dotes on Saturday pork and beans.
But his mind is hardly out of his teens:
With him the love of country means
Blowing it all to smithereens
And having it all made over new.

* * *

Source: Collected Poems; submitted by Andrew Hamilton

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James Clayton
James Clayton

Mending Wall By Robert Frost Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, And spills the upper boulders in the sun; And makes gaps even two can pass abreast. The work of hunters is another thing: I have come after them and made repair Where they have left not one stone on a stone, But they would have the rabbit out of hiding, To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean, No one has seen them made or heard them made, But at spring mending-time we find them there. I let my neighbour know beyond the hill; And on a day we meet to walk the line And set the wall between us once again. We keep the wall between us as we… Read more »

Andrew Hamilton
Andrew Hamilton

“Mending Wall” has always been one of my favorite Frost poems. But, when you think about it, it is in a sense “anti-wall.” The neighbor, who “moves in darkness as it seems to me, / Not of woods only and the shade of trees”, is a hidebound conservative who clings stubbornly to tradition even when it has lost its meaning. The narrator believes “Something [in nature] there is that doesn’t love a wall”—a sort of natural entropy that tears walls down, necessitating constant maintenance. On the other hand, he is not an extremist. He only thinks there should be a purpose: 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… Read more »