I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
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
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
For those of us who aren't poetry buffs, it may be a little hard to decipher, but that's what the author intended. *Frost said he consciously used his "innate mischievousness" in setting up the argumentative dialogue in order "to trip the reader head foremost into the boundless." The poem is about so many things: boundaries, barriers, (in)determinacy and conventions and also about tradition, innovation, (dis)agreements and individuality… and community, property, behavior, communication, knowledge, and folk wisdom.
- "Build a fence even between intimate friends" (Japanese);
- "Love your neighbor, but do not throw down the dividing wall" (Indian [Hindi]);