Flash Fiction: for writers, readers, editors, publishers, & fans


Friday Flash Prompt: Mending a Short Short with Robert Frost

mending wall.jpg

Dry stone is a building method by which structures are constructed from stones without any mortar to bind them together. In New England, dry-stone walls (rock fences) are common. Boulder walls are a type of single wall in which the wall consists primarily of large boulders, around which smaller stones are placed. Single walls work best with large, flatter stones. Ideally, the largest stones are being placed at the bottom and the whole wall tapers toward the top. Sometimes a row of capstones completes the top of a wall, with the long rectangular side of each capstone perpendicular to the wall alignment. (from Wikipedia) 

Mending Wall
Robert Frost
Click here to hear Robert Frost's reading of "Mending Wall" from Bread Loaf.

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."

Now, write a flash, 500 words or less, that somehow "borrows" from the poem. Maybe a character from the poem appears in your flash. Maybe you are inspired by Frost's playfulness (how about that pun on offense and that the "something that sends the frozen ground-swell under it" is frost), the varied meanings of mending, the irony of coming together to build a separating wall, neighbors, and so on. Try to use ten (10) words from the poem in your flash.

Then, after it's reviewed, revise it and send it to Quick Fiction. Wait for the good news. Thank me in your Pushcart acceptance speech.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *