In “Mending Wall”, the narrator and his neighbor are repairing their wall together. The narrator feels that the wall is unnecessary, but the neighbor is determined to keep the wall, saying “Good fences make good neighbors” (27). The narrator seems more playful and light-hearted, compared to the neighbor’s serious and old-fashioned values in insisting that they keep the wall (the narrator even compares his neighbor to a cave man – pretty harsh). It’s ironic that this wall physically separates the two neighbors, but it also brings them together, since they are working together to repair the wall.
In “After Apple-Picking”, the narrator is sick and tired of picking apples. The apples have completely taken over his life, to the point that he daydreams and night-dreams about apples. He says “I am overtired/ Of the great harvest I myself desired” (28-29). It’s pretty sad that he was once excited about the harvest, and the novelty of it eventually wore off and it became a burden instead. I can definitely relate to that type of situation.
The next two poems, “Desert Places” and “Design”, both have specific rhyme schemes that I did not see in the previous two poems. Both poems prominently feature white imagery. In “Desert Places”, it seems like the snow is causing loneliness and despair for the narrator, which is an unusual perspective. Usually snow is seen as causing joy and hope (White Christmas, Winter Wonderland, Let it Snow). In “Design” the narrator contemplates the strangeness of a white spider on a white flower with a white moth. The narrator wonders if there is some greater power out there that makes these strange things happen, or if everything happens just by chance. It’s interesting that, although the three objects of the poem are all white, the tone of the poem is pretty dark.