Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn't love a wall, 
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, 
And spills the upper boulders in the sun, 
And makes 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 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. 
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." 

Robert Frost


About the Poem
This Frost poem served as the cover page for our YE 2001 report. It would be an almost literal description of our work if it were titled, Mending Policy Text, and told a much longer and less peaceful story of a broker whose land is surrounded by four stone walls, each maintained respectively by cooperative work every day with an insured Seller to the North, the insured's Buyer to the South, the Seller's Bank to the East and an Insurer off to the West. 

"The gaps (in understanding) I mean, No one has seen them made or heard them made, but at (monthly reporting-time, or renewal time, or) spring mending-time we find them there...." "...We wear our fingers rough with handling them (our customers problems and questions)..." And we help everyone to get along in this, "...kind of out-door game...", though "...some (of the rules) are loaves and some (of the particular expectations of the parties) so nearly balls, we have to use a spell to make them balance..." 

"...Good (policy text) makes good neighbours...", to be sure. But just as in the poem, neither the mechanics of policy maintenance , nor the psychology, nor the intellectual traditions behind what we do -- never mind the things we do to repair the carelessness of those who aim, "...to please the yelping dogs..." -- are as straightforward and as simple as they may appear to those (not responsible for a policy) who own "...all pine..." or "...all apple...", where "...there are no cows..." 

Frost was said to have been a splendid teacher and a rather inattentive farmer. He would have been a fine broker had he chosen, but we would all have been poorer for that choice.