Also see Farm Animals, Farming and Horses.



What is the difference between one yard and two yards?
(answer at bottom of page)

Old wire

(Helen Harrington)

A circle of rusty wire
rolled up and left leaning
against a post
in an old fence row
catches and holds the eye
better than a new spool
would do.

It is brittle,
not bright or tidy,
not able to last for years,
but it has character
and tells a tale--
about cattle pressing against it,
reaching for greener grasses,
about hands hardened
and scarred
by its barbs and twists . . .
It reminds me
of the old farmer somewhere,
who handled it,
and was changed
by life
and labor, to living.

Page Idea for this poem:

I made a page using this poem. I printed the poem (the title was a barb-wire font) and matted it on brown paper cut with deckle scissors. I centered it and surrounded it by photos of old wire--coils of barb-wire, old fences, rolled up hog-wire, etc.
I rounded the corners of the photos and matted them on light blue paper that also had the corners rounded. The light blue matched the sky in some of the photos.
It might have been better to take the photos in sepia tone or black and white and use neutral colors for the mats.

Stone Wall

A strong stone wall
Is good to see:
All those different rocks
Working together,
Getting along fine.

Mending Wall

(Robert Frost)

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it
And spills the upper boulder in the sun,
And make gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there,
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There were 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 offense.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down." I could say "Elves" to him,
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
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

A Fence

(Carl Sandburg)

Now the stone house on the lakefront is finished
and the workmen are beginning the fence.
The palings are made of iron bars with steel points
that can stab the life out of any man who falls on them.

As a fence, it is a masterpiece, and will shut off
the rabble and all vagabonds and hungry men and
all wandering children looking for a place to play.
Passing through the bars and over the steel points
will go nothing except Death and the Rain and Tomorrow.

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Songs about Fences and Gates

Answer to Riddle

One fence

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