I realized that my English 42 class is turning out to be a soul food lately. Just this week, we discussed another poem, “The Blessing” by James Wright. It’s about the author going on a road trip to Minnesota with his friend, then stopping by a deserted road to pet the stray ponies that they saw on the fenced side on the road.
The poem, from what we discussed, pointed out the divide that separates the world we call civilization and the other world we call nature. How this divide is emphasized by physical manifestations of boundaries. Like fortresses. Like walls. Like fences.
These are built to keep away outsiders, to protect us from them, and to protect them from us. That is what fences can do. And yet.
Fences highlight the value of crossing over.
And that’s from someone who knows a lot about being fenced in.