To the Editor,
Haiku Quarterly 

1st October 2011 

Dear Sir,

In his letter to HQ 39/40, Tony Rudolf refers to, but omits the title of, my haiku Berlin To Jerusalem, printed in HQ 38*. He thus rather misses, or perhaps evades, the main point the haiku tried to address: the desperate irony of inhumane and repressive wall-building, however ‘politically justified’ – be it by Nazis, Communists or Zionists. 

Rudolf also misquotes Frost’s opening line, which actually runs: “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall”. As for Mending Wall itself, which he calls Frost’s “most famous poem”, I venture to disagree. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening; The Road Not Taken; Fire And Ice; Tree At My Window; Acquainted With The Night; ‘Out– Out–’; and longer poems like Birches and Death Of The Hired Man, were and are more often and more widely quoted, whether in toto or in part, by international readers of all ages.  

As to Rudolf’s comment on “the wall that divided Jerusalem in those days” [ie. 1961], I recently stood, fifty years later – both in Jerusalem and elsewhere in the occupied territories – under various sections of this thirty metres high and hundreds of miles long concrete edifice. This vast land-enclosure project is also a gigantic fortification still under construction. The wall has even been described, in misleadingly bland terms, as a necessary barrier or useful separation ‘fence’! Had Frost been willing or persuaded to read his remarkable poem at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem these days, could he have so definitively concluded that “Good fences make good neighbours”? And would any dispossessed and segregated Palestinians have been allowed the opportunity to hear him? 


* Berlin To Jerusalem

Something there is that
doesn’t love a wall
, wrote Frost,
wiser than he knew


[from: Haiku Of Five Decades

Anarchios Press, 2011]