Something There Is That Doesn’t Love A Wall

Tearing Down the Walls of Athens
No One Loves Walls

“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall”

Mending Wall – by Robert Frost

Something I’ve been thinking about these past few days is how walls don’t necessarily work out all that well. At least, people always seem to find ways of making walls do things that weren’t planned for.

A Visit To Berlin

Last Summer Winnie and I visited Northern Germany for two weeks. We rented a car and drove a big loop from Wiesbaden up to Rotterdam, over to Berlin, and back to Wiesbaden. It was a great trip full of seeing things I’d wanted to see for most of my life. But the sight that made the strongest impression on me was the remains of the wall that once divided Berlin.

Berlin is no longer a divided city – the wall was mostly torn down by citizens starting in November 1989. After twenty-eight years, the people of Berlin had enough and simply torn down the wall themselves. When Winnie and I visited Berlin, there were only remnants of the wall scattered around the city like the scar marks of a bad wound long healed. But the remnants of that wall was a canvas for art.

In the one park we visited, which contains what is now the longest remaining stretch of wall, I was entranced by how the wall had been used as a canvas for spontaneous paintings. The art was vibrant and meaningful – protest art at it’s finest.

I’ve been thinking of the Berlin Wall a lot because of events last week in another capitol city, Washington, D.C.

The Art of the Berlin Wall

Berlin, Germany, East Side Gallery Wall Art
East Side Gallery Wall Art. Berlin, Germany
Berlin, Germany, East Side Gallery Wall Art
East Side Gallery Wall Art. Berlin, Germany
Berlin, Germany, East Side Gallery Wall Art
East Side Gallery Wall Art. Berlin, Germany
Berlin, Germany, East Side Gallery Wall Art
East Side Gallery Wall Art. Berlin, Germany

The Newest Wall

Back on Monday, June 1, Impeached President trump was unhappy about news reports that he spent the previous Friday evening hiding from protesters in an underground bunker. So, after consulting with his bestie Vladimir Putin, and then berating our state governors for being weak, trump decided to address our nation. Next, he took a stroll across the street through Lafayette Park to St. John’s Church for a photo op proving he did in fact know what a bible was.

And then he had his private military build a new wall around the White House.

Perimeter Fencing Around The White House - Trump's Wall
The Layout of trump’s Wall Around the White House

As with the wall that once divided Berlin, trump’s wall around our White House is quickly becoming a canvas for protest art. This time, the protests are about the abusive treatment and routine police murder of black people who also happen to be American citizens. The art going up on trump’s wall reflect these protests.

The Art of Trump’s Wall

Protest Art on Trumps Wall, Washington, DC
Image By Fox TV
Protest Art on Trumps Wall, Washington, DC
Image By Fox TV
Protest Art on Trumps Wall, Washington, DC
Image by NBC News

So, it seems Donald Trump finally got the big beautiful wall he’s been promising America ever since he decided he really needed to be president. Maybe he’ll even get Mexico to pay for it, if only to keep trump and his supporters out of that beautiful wall-free country.

I leave my readers with the complete poem written by Robert Frost titled “Mending Wall.”

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 neighbor 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 go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
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 cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

Source: Poetry Foundation

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