Karla Hines - avhs2.ednet.ns.ca

A Reflection by Karla Hines
Mending Wall
The poem is not as simple as it seems. At a first glance
it’s about two guys fixing a wall. Not a brick wall but the
kind where you just sort of pile up the stones on top of
each other and hope they stay put. Of course, the
higher you build them, the easier Mother Nature can
knock it down.
I have a wall like this, but not in the physical sense. My
wall is around me. If I were to write a poem like this, I
suppose it would be about my trench coat and my
interaction with the world. Like in Mending Wall, as far
as I’m concerned there are two people in the world; me
and the rest of the people in the world.
Mending Wall
I suppose the sentiment I mentioned before is a bit
callous to most people, especially since Mending Wall is
arguing against putting up emotional barriers in the first
place. The poem made me wonder why I have barriers
around myself. The answer is simple.
I do not like pain. Pain is not something most people enjoy
having inflicted on themselves. Hence, to ward off those
that might cause me some sort of pain, I build my wall.
My wall, like the one in the poem, is broken. My trench
coat literally fell apart and that bothers me to no end
because I am without defenses and there will be no spring
wall rebuilding for me.
After Apple Picking
It took a lot of thought to catch anything from After
Apple Picking and I didn’t think I’d get it. What I pulled
from it is that it’s about life. The barrel the narrator
didn’t fill is not for ambition as you’d think, but for
The apples are relationships. The narrator is about to die
and his brain is presenting his life. Obviously, he was all
work and no play. He has basically met people, used them
to further himself and then threw them out into the
cider apple pile.
After Apple Picking
We are all guilty of using others to further our own
ends, albeit some resort to this more than others and
some don’t know what they’re doing when they do. I do
it all the time and it generally works. For instance, when
I need something even people I don’t know will offer
assistance because people tend to like me and I have
some amount of charm.
At the end of my life, I most likely won’t be off thinking
of apples and the harvest that I gave my soul for (I’ve
never picked apples), but I know I’ll think along similar
lines if my life keeps going the way it is.
Swinging on birches sounds like fun to me. Only
creative children with too much time on their hands
and not enough people around to squash their dreams
would be perpetrating such an act. Then the pathless
woods of the world hits and they start getting lost.
I slipped through the cracks long ago, but not as far
as the narrator. He’s definitely been to the school of
hard knocks and is reminiscing about times before
Truth had shattered the illusion that he had built for
himself when he was young and still had an
I’ve certainly felt the crush of outside expectations
weighing on my shoulders and not giving me time to be
imaginative or to have any fun. I make time anyway and
then the world seems vastly unfair.
I’ve considered what it would be like to just get away
from earth for a while, but then I realize like the
narrator of the poem that to leave earth like that would
mean not being able to come back and that would not be
good. Better to endure hardship and rely on memories
of times gone by than to try and escape it. Besides, even
thought the birches don’t stand back up after the
weight of the ice bows them, I’m a human being and I
vow to be different.
The Wood-Pile
The poem is about passing on your legacy in life. The bird
was a hobby that became an obsession to the narrator
and led him to a wood pile in the middle of nowhere. The
wood pile is the legacy of someone. Probably his father,
which he thought he’d never visit, but eventually he ended
up there anyway.
It seems that he’s the type like me. I have vowed never
to be as my father is. I refuse. I will one day find that
little bird with the white feather in it’s tail that catches
my attention and leads me to my father’s legacy, but until
then, I will stop before I reach the wood beyond the
frozen swamp and wait.
On the critique of the Wood-Pile
This article was extremely long and slightly… boring.
It’s in-depth but hard to follow unless you’re a
professor of English at some advanced university.
The writer talks about the poem being about leaving
the familiar behind and traversing something that
doesn’t look overly pleasant to come to a sort of
senseless act of kindness. In my own opinion, this
isn’t what the poem’s about, but I probably read to
deeply into things and tried too desperately to
connect some aspect of it to my life that the
interpretation was skewed for me.
Mr. Jay Michalowski, Tim Kroemer and Stephen J.
Goodson(1999) http://www.robertfrost.org/
Prepared and Compiled by Cary Nelson and Edward