Dave Snowden is puzzled with one of my posts that mentions Frost’s poem, Mending Wall, when I say:
“when you read the entire poem (in context) you realise Frost is questioning the need for fences”
Dave responds categorically saying: “I cannot see any reading (my emphasis) that would support such a statement. The poem is about the dynamics and social process of mending, not the static nature of the wall.”
I understand the metaphor Dave. Give me a break. I’m surprised that someone with such a deep understanding of sensemaking and the need for multiple interpretations can only see one interpretation of a poem. Have a read of this part of the poem and hopefully you can see that the narrator is questioning the need for walls. Of course it is ironic that we are arguing over this particular poem.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors’.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
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 offence.
I suspect you hadn’t seen this part of the poem because you were using other parts to make a point about barriers in complex systems. I think it’s a classic example of seeing what you are looking for.
About Shawn Callahan
Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on: