Boundaries: Cross at your peril

Brazil is just across the river from Argentina

Brazil is just across the river from Argentina

Fences and walls,
Grand rivers,
Cascades and water falls;
Cross at your peril.
— Carto

There’s an old saying: “Good fences make good neighbors.”

Fences make good neighbors

Good fences make good neighbors, The Pantanal, Brazil

This brings to mind Robert Frost’s poem about the spring chore of mending a stone wall that separated his apple orchard from the neighbor’s pine woods:  “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.

And, then there are boundaries established for vacationing tourists.

Tourists looking at birds in Costa Rica

Tourists looking at birds in Costa Rica

Pat Mora, a poet from El Paso, writes about children watching the tourists at play near the children’s home.


Mouths full of laughter,
the turistas come to the tall hotel
with suitcases full of dollars.
Every morning my brother makes
the cool beach new for them.
With a wooden board he smooths
away all footprints.

I peek through the cactus fence
and watch the women rub oil
sweeter than honey into their arms and legs
while their children jump waves
or sip drinks from long straws,
coconut white, mango yellow.

Once my little sister
ran barefoot across the hot sand
for a taste.

My mother roared like the ocean,
“No. No. It’s their beach.
It’s their beach.”

— Pat Mora, American Life in Poetry: Column 192

So close and yet so far.

So close and yet so far.


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