Like other of Frost poems, ‘mending wall’ involves a journey. We are introduced to two farmers in an annual meeting at the wall that separates their properties. They walk the length of the wall, repairing damage that has been done during the year. This process allows us to think the whole question of communication or, more precisely, the way we put up walls and create barriers between ourselves.
As happens in this poem it shifts from a basic, natural setting to an abstract consideration of human behavior. The very first word of the poem establishes the sense of that which colors in its entire atmosphere. This opening line establishes a mystery; there is ‘something’ that doesn’t want the wall to be there. Whatever it is, it is a powerful force: it creates a ‘frozen grounds swell’ that attacks the wall from the base, forcing the boulders on the top to tumble off. Wintertime is when the destroyer does its work. The effect is not a small one, but a gap that is as wide as two people are.
The question is ‘what has caused them?’ In this stanza, he breaks from his consideration of this mysterious wall-hater for the moment to degrade hunters as culprits. He knows that hunters damage walls. He has repaired the damage they have done. They cause a lot of damage to let the dogs get at rabbits that hide amongst the rocks of the wall. The hunting image becomes,