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I am a retired English teacher and department head, the mother of three, grand mother of three, and have been married to the same man for 42 years. I subscribe to Dr. PM Forni's concept of Civility. I was born in South Philadelphia and grew up in the 'burbs. I love soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, the Phillies, the Eagles, and San Diego. I love being Mom, Aunt Kathy, Nona Kathy, and Teacher. I spend a lot of time in my gardens in the spring and summer, and in the winter I plan what I'm going to plant. I also am an avid reader and photographer.

Translator!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Just thinking...

Well the scones are baked and cooling.  I've got my tea with honey and lemon at my side.  No clotted cream for the scones but they're made with 3/4 pound of butter and one cup of heavy cream.  I'm serving them with a side of Lipitor.  If everyone has something to drink and a scone, I think we can discuss the poem a bit.

Well, you all are correct; literally the fence in the poem protects one farmer's fields from trespass.  Fences and boundaries are good.  Everyone knows what is whose.

But what if the fence in this poem were metaphorical?  What if it stood for still viable practices and traditions but ones that have lost their meaning?  Like bad blood between folks, mindless bigotry, or holidays originally celebrated reverently that no longer are treated that way.  Commercialized Christmas and Easter come to mind.

The one neighbor continues to ask why the fence is there and the other relies on what his father told him, "Good fences make good neighbors" and "He will not go behind his father's saying."

"He moves in darkness as it seems to me; Not of woods only and the shade of trees."  Clearly the one neighbor thinks the actions of the fence keeper primitive, but will he do anything about it.  No, they'll meet again the following year and the year after that to repair winter's effects on the stone fence.

Can I get you more tea or another scone?

6 comments:

Linda Reeder said...

Now you are pulling me back to my college days as an English major. Analyzing poetry for deeper meaning can be fun, an intellectually stimulating exercise. And certainly there is the metaphorical meaning to this poem. But if I don't want to work that hard, there is still the wonderful sensory imagery and poetic language to take pleasure in, especially since I have no scones.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

The neighbor is set in his ways, unable and unwilling to question or change the mindset and beliefs that he has acquired from his ancestors. He will hold onto his beliefs even when they no longer serve a purpose.
I will take another cup of tea now - thank-you!

Jay said...

"Can I get you more tea or another scone?"

Actually, I would prefer some wine. Thanks. ;-)

Cheryl said...

Smarty pants. If my neighbor had a fence, some might say my view would be much better but then again, I'd miss the incredulousness found in that view. And that's as deep as I get. I would, however, have enjoyed the tea and scones :))

Deb said...

Ah, I'm a little late joining in on this one; I've not been able to keep up my daily reads lately. May I just sneak into the back of the class and participate in the refreshments??

Gilly said...

Well, I can tell you are an English teacher!! I haven't analyzed a poem for years and years! (And yet I write poetry! strange!)

Those scones sound fabulous! Never put cream in mine - traditionally scones here were made with sour milk (or a squeeze of lemon in the milk).

If I just have half a scone and some tea (lemon, no honey) could I come and sit quietly!