A Servant to Servants, Fire and Ice, Henry James, I have been acquainted in the night, Mending Wall, poems, Poetry, Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, T S Eliot, The Death of the Hired Man, Tree at my Window, White Landscape
Robert Frost is for me the most appealing of American writers, always excepting the two who got away, as it were, Henry James and T S Eliot. I should note though, in fairness to the Americans, or perhaps to avoid any charges of prejudice, that I find their modern dramatists, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, as good as any British playwrights of the same period.
Frost however stands out, for the range of his poetry, for a simplicity of language that conveys extremely subtle and complex ideas, for deep understanding of some key human relationships, and for a plethora of memorable phrases that expand our understanding of the world in which we live. ‘Good fences make good neighbours’ and ‘Home is where, when you have nowhere else to go, they have to take you in’ are a couple that will serve to introduce two very different but equally striking poems.
The first line is taken from Mending Wall, which describes a supposedly common New England habit, the rebuilding of fences between properties after the depradations caused by winter. But the narrator thinks there are other reasons for walls being broken down, perhaps because nature abhors barriers between people. His neighbor however comes out with the blunt aphorism I cited, and often this is taken to indicate that Frost himself subscribes to this orthodoxy.