Closed ‘Til Spring

Within this wooden box
Tree swallows built a home
Of grass and feathers

Formed a cup-shaped nest
To hold a clutch of pink-white eggs
Tended them in heat and chill

Watched as shells cracked and
Newborns struggled
To take their first deep drink of air

Through short summer months
They swept bugs up on the wing
Perfected their aerial acrobatics

Then as the sun shrank
They cast themselves south
And left behind an empty sky.




Fence posts and barbwire tamed the West, so they say. Defined the line between mine and yours. Designed to keep these in and those out (whatever they were). Left no doubt as to who owned what.

In his poem Mending Wall  Robert Frost writes about the journey he makes each spring with his neighbour to repair the stone wall that separates their two properties. His neighbour claims: “Good fences make good neighbours.”

At one time rivers, mountains, oceans, cliffs, deserts — even gravity — kept tabs on who went where.

In our ongoing quest for safety, we continue to build walls and fences and where those physical barricades are not enough we build divisiveness with culture, skin colour, language, country of origin, religion, clothing, age, gender, species, ignorance, weapons, jealousy, anger, fear — anything to keep us and them apart.

As for Robert Frost?

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.