"Mending Wall" is a metaphorical poem written in blank verse, published in 1914, by Robert Frost (1874–1963). There are five stressed syllables per line, with varying feet and occasional lines of iamb. The poem appeared as the first selection in Frost's second collection of poetry, North of Boston.
A stone wall separates the speaker’s property from his neighbor’s. The speaker muses at the beginning of the poem that there must be "something" that "doesn't love a wall" referring to the forces of nature that bring a wall to decay and require it to be repaired and rebuilt. In spring, the two neighbors meet to walk along the wall (each on his own side) and replace the rocks that had been displaced in the last year. The speaker sees no reason for the wall to be kept—there are no cows to be contained, just apple and pine trees. He does not believe in walls for the sake of walls. The neighbor resorts to an old adage: “Good fences make good neighbors,” a line listed by the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations as a mid 17th century proverb. The speaker remains unconvinced and mischievously presses the neighbor to look beyond the old-fashioned folly of such reasoning. He says, "Before I built a wall I'd ask to know / What I was walling in or walling out / And to whom I was like to give offense," noting that neither his apple trees nor his neighbor's pine trees are likely to encroach on the other's property. His neighbor will not be swayed. The speaker envisions his neighbor as a holdover from a justifiably outmoded era, a living example of a dark-age mentality. But the neighbor simply repeats the adage "Good fences make good neighbors."