Robert Frost calls the Poetry Crisis Line yet again

STAFFER: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

STAFFER: Isn’t that kind of dehumanizing? I mean, I think the wall is a wasteful solution to an imaginary problem, but when you start talking about people as things–

CALLER: That sends

STAFFER: The wrong message, I know, but–

CALLER: the frozen-

STAFFER: Did you just call me a snowflake?

CALLER: ground-swell under it,

STAFFER: A groundswell is right. And we’re just getting started.

CALLER: And spills the upper boulders in the sun;

STAFFER: Really? Over two million nonviolent protesters, but you want to focus on the few who showed up topl–

CALLER: And makes gaps

STAFFER: That gap is natural. Every woman has it, unless she’s wearing a bra that squishes them together.

CALLER: even two can pass abreast.

STAFFER: Yes, they usually come in pairs.

CALLER: The work of hunters is another thing:

STAFFER: Look, I have to call you out here. I think you’re defensively falling back on traditional gender roles.

CALLER: I have come after them and made repair

STAFFER: I know what that’s like. But once you start cleaning up after the patriarchy, it starts to become a full-time job.

CALLER: Where they have left not one stone on a stone,

STAFFER: Rock on

CALLER: But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,

STAFFER: Now you’re splitting hares.

CALLER: To please the yelping dogs.

STAFFER: But that’s what I’m saying–you’ll never please some people. They just want to bark bark bark bark / bark bark bark bark / until you can hear them all over the park.

CALLER: The gaps I mean,

STAFFER: Again with the cleavage. Wait–are you saying the protesters are the dogs?

CALLER: No one has seen them

STAFFER: Are you kidding? They were on all the news channels in their handcrafted hats.

CALLER: made

STAFFER: Fine, handMADE hats. But I think you’re splitting hairs again. Are you trying to distract me from what you just said about nobody seeing them?

CALLER: or heard them

STAFFER: Now that’s just nonsense. They were loud and proud, and the points they stated–

CALLER: made,

STAFFER: Yes, the points they made.

CALLER: But at spring mending-time we find them there.

STAFFER: Again with the gender roles.

CALLER: I let my neighbour know

STAFFER: Great! Spread the word.

CALLER: beyond the hill;

STAFFER: All over the world–not just Capitol Hill.

CALLER: And on a day we meet to walk the line

STAFFER: You’re coming out to march too? Wonderful!

CALLER: And set the wall between us once again.

STAFFER: Oh–so you’ll be at the counter protests? I’m sorry to hear that, but it is your right.

CALLER: We keep the wall between us as we go.

STAFFER: But that’s the problem, isn’t it? You can’t have an open discussion of the issues if you keep building walls.

CALLER: To each the boulders

STAFFER: That’s a whole different issue. When you talk to a woman you need to look her in the face. Don’t focus on her “boulders–”

CALLER: that have fallen

STAFFER: Now that’s just rude.

CALLER: to each.

STAFFER: Yes, much better. You need to talk to each person as an individual.

CALLER: And some are loaves

STAFFER: No. We’re all just people. Stop comparing us to things.

CALLER: and some so nearly balls

STAFFER: Look, if you think women are acting like men, that’s your problem, not theirs.

CALLER: We have to use a spell to make them balance:

STAFFER: There is no magical solution.

CALLER: “Stay where you are

STAFFER: You can’t just tell the protesters to stop.

CALLER: until our backs are turned!”

STAFFER: Or pretend you don’t see.

CALLER: We wear our fingers rough with handling them.

STAFFER: Now that’s really not OK.

CALLER: Oh, just another kind of out-door game,

STAFFER: No. Handling people roughly is not a game.

CALLER: One on a side.

STAFFER: What–like a duel?

CALLER: It comes to little more:

STAFFER: This is America. We don’t do trial by combat here. I mean, until His Orange Lordship appoints Chuck Norris to the Supreme Court.

CALLER: There where it is

STAFFER: Wait, he’s not planning to, is he?

CALLER: we do not need the wall:

STAFFER: No, we don’t. I just hope someone will tell the guy in power.

CALLER: He is all pine

STAFFER: Exactly! Pining for a time that never was…

CALLER: and I am apple orchard.

STAFFER: Yes. They tried to bury us, but we were seeds…

CALLER: My apple trees will never get across

STAFFER: Don’t be so pessimistic. Just keep talking until someone listens.

CALLER: And eat the cones

STAFFER: What, like the traffic cones? They’re way too rubbery. Bring a Clif bar or something.

CALLER: under his pines,

STAFFER: But pining isn’t the answer.

CALLER: I tell him.

STAFFER: You got to tell him? How did he react?

CALLER: He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

STAFFER: Right. Leading by platitude.

CALLER: Spring is the mischief in me,

STAFFER: I’m not sure I can wait that long.

CALLER: and I wonder / If I could put a notion in his head:

STAFFER: Oh, would you? Please do.

CALLER: “Why do they make good neighbours?

STAFFER: That’s what you want to put in his head?

CALLER: Isn’t it / Where there are cows?

STAFFER: Aaaaand we’re back to cowboy diplomacy.

CALLER: But here there are no cows.

STAFFER: Exactly.

CALLER: Before I built a wall I’d ask to know / What I was walling in or walling out,

STAFFER: See, that makes sense.

CALLER: And to whom I was like to give offence.

STAFFER: I would think that was the basic standard. Why can’t some people figure that out?

CALLER: Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

STAFFER: And we’re back to dehumanizing people.

CALLER: That wants it down.”

STAFFER: “She.” Or “He.” Not “That.” If you’ve got the President’s ear, you need to remind him that we’re talking about human beings.

CALLER: I could say “Elves” to him,

STAFFER: Yeah–you probably could.

CALLER: But it’s not elves exactly,

STAFFER: No. But he’d believe it.

CALLER: and I’d rather / He said it for himself.

STAFFER: Or Alec Baldwin. I could see Alec Baldwin saying it as him. “Elves.”

CALLER: I see him there

STAFFER: You can see that too, huh?

CALLER: Bringing a stone


CALLER: grasped firmly by the top

STAFFER: No, I meant on SNL. Was he also in Land of the Lost or something?

CALLER: In each hand,

STAFFER: Wait, are you talking about the president again? Each tiny hand?

CALLER: like an old-stone savage armed.

STAFFER: Yep, that sounds like him.

CALLER: He moves in darkness as it seems to me,

STAFFER: Yes, it seems that way to me, too.

CALLER: Not of woods only

STAFFER: Yeah, it was bad enough when it was just the national forests, but now they’re trying to take down all of our protections.

CALLER: and the shade of trees.

STAFFER: Even the trees are casting shade? Oh, you mean the alt-NPS Twitter feeds, don’t you?

CALLER: He will not go behind his father’s saying,

STAFFER: You mean his father’s money, right? Because it’s clear by now that he’ll say whatever he wants to.

CALLER: And he likes having thought of it so well

STAFFER: Yes, he certainly seems to.

CALLER:He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”

STAFFER: Well, platitudes can be comforting in times of crisis, but they can also distract you from the real issues. Perhaps you should focus on real ways to be a good neighbor, such as bringing over a plate of cookies when they move in, not blaming your neighbors for your problems, avoiding trade wars or twitter wars, and not threatening to invade them. . . you know, the basics.



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