Sunday, December 23, 2018

Mending Wall Redux

by Marshall Davis (with apologies to Robert Frost)

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends a groundswell of opposition against it,
And banners glistening in the sun;
And inspires protesters to stand abreast.
The work of coyotes is another thing:
I have come after them and seen
Where they have breached the border
Bringing through their dusty cargo
To please farmers looking for workers.
No one has seen them come or heard them pass.
But the border patrol finds them later.

I let my neighbor know across the way;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And inspect once again the wall between us.
We keep the wall between us as we talk,
Razor wire recently laid by the National Guard,
Concertina wire, they call it, named after the instrument.
But the song it plays is one of sorrow and suffering.
If only a spell would make it disappear:
“Fall to the ground when our backs are turned!”

We wear our soles thin walking the rocky ground.
Oh, it’s just another kind of political game,
One nation on a side. It comes to little more:
Here where it is we do not need a wall;
The only ones to cross are migrants
Who travel across and back at harvest time.
Americans will not do the work, so they are needed.
But the Big Guy says, “We’re going to build a wall,
And Mexico is going to pay for it.”

Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do you need to build a wall? Isn’t it
Where there is danger to one side or the other?
But here there is no danger.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What we are walling in and walling out.
And whom the wall would hurt the most.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” I could say “Democrats” to him,
But it is not Democrats exactly, and I’d rather
He figure it out for himself. I see him there
Wearing a red hat saying “America First”
Like a stone-age savage armed with fear.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of the wall only or passing clouds.
He will not go behind his leader’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “We’re going to build a wall,
And we are going to pay for it.”  

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