Robert Frost What side of the fence ARE YOU ON asks MetroAtlanta Buy Lease Sell in Buckhead Atlanta GA

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Robert Frost What side of the fence ARE YOU ON asks MetroAtlanta Buy Lease Sell, in Buckhead Atlanta GA

OK, so everyone knows what it is like to have a few lines of a song running around your head for days on end. Yet on ActiveRain, a blog may do just the same thing.  Its topic comes up again and again in your mind until  --- well, until you realize what was needing clarification FOR YOU from that post.  That is what happened for me with the post about fences.

picket fenceSometimes thoughts find their own way through more than one level in our minds. We often see blog posts complaining about Clients' behavior. Not paying attention, not following through on what they promised , not, not, not ... The issues are the same when Clients' complaints about us are heard. 

So what does it boil down to in this case? Why did the FENCES post follow me around? Why did I go back and search for a copy of the poem? Why did I re-read it, twice, and then leave a mega-long comment on the Clarks' Blog that day?  I think at first, I took the post at surface level. There is land and its boundaries SHOULD be accurate and could be fenced. Then the issues arose: improper placement of the fence, for example, followed by logical answers and solutions: perhaps a survey. So that couldn't be the reason for the refrain float-- too factual and too clingy! 

picket fenceSkipping all the steps, (I'll spare you the meander through my mind) what was pestering me was a broader reflection. I was hung up on the idea of how many times, how many thousands of times, the line from Robert Frost's poem has been used in a manner that was so opposite what he had intended. Perhaps then we may see the reasons for the reasons for Frost's words "Spring is the mischief in me". 

Was Frost in favor of the fence or just being a good neighbor by repairing it since it took two to fix it?

Then the reason for the blog post floating around incessantly in my mind became even more clear.  I was analyzing how do we, as professional real estate agents, listen when Clients are speaking to us?  How do we know that we haven't missed something important when our Clients are communicating with us? 

picket fenceWithout further ado - hopefully you will stop by and see the Clarks' post. And discover the reasons for my own reflections on paying attention in conversations! My mega comment is here.

Have a happy day --


Dear AR friends - Thanks for reminding me of the oft-repeated quote above from Robert Frost. But in what context did Frost use the phrase?  "Good fences make good neighbors."

The US Poet, born 1874 in San Francisco, moved to New England at age eleven with his mother after his father died. As a young married man, Frost and his beloved wife Elinor lived in England.  Circumstances made a return to New Hampshire necessary. Then back to England and back to New England, where Frost lived on several different farms over the years.

During his long life, Frost wrote many poems whose messages were seemingly clear - almost reports on events but those writings carried insights into human behavior and emotions.  A closer reading of the poem "Mending Wall" implies that - in fact - Frost was not so sure of whether fences were a good thing or not. (See BOLDed lines.)

That is the truth of Frost as a poet - his vision cut through scenes and focused on behavior. Who Frost was and what he really had to say is the subject of Randall Jarrell's essay, "The Other Frost".  Jarrell stated that "[Frost was] the subtlest and saddest of poets" whose "extraordinary strange poems express an attitude that, at its most extreme, makes pessimism a hopeful evasion." 

During his long life, Frost received 44 honorary degrees and many government honors.  He recited poetry at President Kennedy's inauguration. He visited foreign countries as the embodiment of American Poetry.  Most enduring reward, however, about ten years after his beloved wife had died, Frost had the wonderful luck to make a close and lasting friendship with another woman, Kathleen Morrison, who acted as his official secretary & business manager.  She managed his affairs for him and she typed his writings up for him.

See what you think the phrase means after reading the poem ...

Have a happy day,
(Can you tell I am a devoted fan of the poet Robert Frost?  LOL)

"MENDING WALL"  by Robert Frost (1874-1963)


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:          5
I have come after them and made repair  
Where they have left not one stone on 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,   10
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.   15
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.   20
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,  
One on a side. It comes to little more:  
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.   25
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.   30
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,   35
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,   40
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."  


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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Very thought provoking, Lynn....and I read every word of Frost's poem. I am not a fan of fences. However, I would like to read Clark's blog, but I don't know who you're referring to!

Listening to our clients, or ANYONE for that matter is an ACTIVE not PASSIVE response, but not verbal. In my mind, I try to pay attention to not waiting for them to stop so I can jump in and therefore not listen thoroughly to what they're saying, but I also have to be conscious of that. Interrupting is also a "bad listener's trait". However, when someone repeats the same thing over and over, it DOES get annoying...I got it already, I was LISTENING!

So many discussions could ensue and it would all be quite fascinating. A really good salesperson, whether selling real estate or funeral plots listens, asks great questions and reads what's not being said as well.

Jun 21, 2011 08:20 PM #1
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Dear Gayle -
First - we both are up too late!
Second - glad you were up so I saw a response right away. You are so RIGHT about listening. Listening may be the most important thing we have to do. You mention interrupting.  I read a study once that stated a person's listening style often differed based on where the person came from originally. In some cultures, apparently, the so-called interruptions indicate understanding! 
Third, the links are in now. Accidentally posted before entering links. Sorry.
Fourth, I am going to sleep now!

Have a happy day -

Jun 21, 2011 08:41 PM #2
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Lynn, all that from a few posts, wow! But actually I know what you mean. Sometimes posts seem to follow me around and my mind screams at me to write my own interpretation. I have one now I am working on. Some posts are so thought provoking they actually change my mind about things.

Robert Frost is a good one, and no, I never would have known you were such a fan! :D

Jun 21, 2011 10:32 PM #3
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker


Good work on this poem. I have used the expression "good fences" etc. in blogs from time to time but I have not gone through the poem like you have.


Jun 22, 2011 11:54 AM #4
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Dear Andrea -
I look forward to reading the one your mind is "reworking". It will be just what you say - an opportunity to change how something is seen.
As always, thanks for coming by.

Have a happy day -

Jun 22, 2011 05:00 PM #5
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Dear Brian -
So - what do you think? Did Frost agree or disagree with the idea that "good fences make good neighbors" as his neighbor said?

- also FYI - because of your previous comments on the Clarks' post, I went and re-investigated "adverse possession" and the linked away learning for two hours.  I guess re-awakening the brain cells as I learned all of that in RE School.  Let's see - reading about adverse possession led to quiet title which lead to disseisor and that led to squatter's rights.  AND LOTS MORE !!!!  Leaves a lot of complication for the agents!
Have a happy day -

Jun 22, 2011 05:16 PM #6
Toni Weidman
Sailwinds Realty - Trinity, FL
20+ Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL

Lynn, you are spending way too much time on AR :) Good post with lots of interesting issues. I will bookmark it and go back to read it.

Jun 23, 2011 05:32 AM #7
Lynn B. Friedman
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ... - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Dear Toni -
You are RIGHT!
I am
spending way too much time on AR :) and enjoying every minute of it!
Hope you have a wonderful and happy day -

Jun 25, 2011 01:08 PM #8
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Lynn B. Friedman

Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers
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