Walls in Poetry: And the Wall Came Down: A Poem

Updated on January 9, 2019
Tim Truzy info4u profile image

Tim Truzy is a poet, short-story author, and he is currently working on several novels.

Walls collapse with time.
Walls collapse with time. | Source

Walls we make as Youth and Adults

Humanity has a repeating cycle of experiences and events which gives us universal themes and concepts for establishing and maintaining societies. In youth we seek to be more independent, pushing the limits of what we can and can’t do before becoming emancipated adults. We question and challenge. We want the reassurance of parents but the freedom to assert ourselves. We want love from others while seeking what that means to us. Essentially, we strive to build without demolishing what has been stable for us since birth.

The poem below was inspired by constructive dialogue I had with a fellow poet on this site, Mark Tulin, who reminded us skillfully in his work: We have to tear those walls down and get on with being human. I've also included different meanings of the appearance of walls in literature. Enjoy: And the Wall Came Down.

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Our movements can cause more problems than solutions.
Our movements can cause more problems than solutions. | Source

And the Wall Came Down

String them up!

Boots martial marching midway

Lines lean swinging left and right,

People in tents singing right to left,

Men, women, babies-human contents,

Ordered to line up.

Hang them up.

Headaches stressing branches,

Tied to forms in trees of paperwork,

Jerking side to side,

Like clothes on a line,

Hanging in the desert to dry.

What’s the scuttlebutt?

Walls of water can’t build a border,

Ships are female but not a daughter,

Cast an anchor do again the slaughter.

Ring them up?

Roots partial searching for Golden Rule,

Not found in obvious rule of gold.

Lines angled top to bottom stinging my hands and yours,

Purchase low and lower still until the fallen are `down.

Or beneath a wall.

Bang them up.

Lines T-cells surrounding barricades,

Incarcerating sickness cannot stay,

Engulfing infection on that terrible day,

Alas A cold caught me,

Under blanket securing shut off from the world,

Walled off from the oaks, cedars, birds and squirrels,

Fenced in wanting virus thrown out.

Hang it up!

Boundary still in China to mighty Rome,

Going forward to Jericho barrier,

And even my sniffles-

Eventually fell to tonics.

Dream us up.

I saw bustling Berlin once,

Strolling with ice warring shoes,

Fighting the coming chill,

In a ring pretending a line,

Drawing a wall to stop the freeze.

I vote a hammer,

Ballot a bulldozer,

Apathy mixes concrete,

Sympathy brings nails,

And history carries coffins.

Down standing up.

Shaking in cold bedroom covering tonight:

Embracing threads so colorful and white,

Singing my healthy grandchild to sleep,

Tale Humpty on horse named Troy,

Hug them up.

Arms two lines forming a circle,

Tribes in house separated by nations,

Enclosures invisible to heart.

Making rows of trees bend,

Oaks, cedar, pine,

North, west, east, south:

All without directions:

Holding wall sagging line firm.

Walls provide temporary security.
Walls provide temporary security. | Source

Digging up My Youth and Filling in Adult Awareness

One of my construction activities as a youth involved digging a tunnel near the forest where we dwelled. My friends and I dug about three feet under the earth, fortifying walls, and even placing candles and electric lights in the twenty feet long environment. This was inspired after reading about the hobbits and other classics. I would sneak away in that place with my favorite Asimov novel or book of poetry and relax. Often, I took my comic books and imagined I was a superhero, saving the world from impending disaster.
However, the tunnel collapsed, walls giving in to the force of gravity, as our youthful pursuits took us elsewhere in life. But my need to monitor walls of insecurity and exclusion internally and externally remained as I matured. I struggled to fight tunnel vision, keeping my vision focused in order to avoid stumbling into a hole or running into visible and invisible obstacles. Along the way, literature provided some of the tools to keep those walls at a minimum.

Wall symbolism in Literary Works

  1. The use of walls in artistic works can indicate physical separation. They can also show a barrier to intimacy in the characters or a community. Walls may be symbols of the limits of a community’s or character’s tolerance. These structures are synonymous with an impasse in literature.
  2. Some artistic works may incorporate walls to show social instability. They can also represent personal insecurity or comfort, which may be flawed in some manner. Walls can be portrayed as obstacles to action. In literature, walls can symbolize the horrors hidden inside of us.
  3. Some works may use walls to show deterioration of mental health. Or the situation could be reversed. For Instance, a wall could indicate an author is drawing attention to the fact a character or community is protecting overall well-being. Walls can demonstrate fear of “the other,” eventually leading to dealing with fears of self.
  4. Nevertheless, creative individuals may find unique ways to use these structures in their work. The meaning of any symbol may change as the novel, poem, or other literary creation moves forward. for this reason, the reader should examine the text with care to understand what the author is communicating.

Walls in literature can represent many aspects of life.
Walls in literature can represent many aspects of life. | Source

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No matter how strong a wall appears, it will not last forever.
No matter how strong a wall appears, it will not last forever. | Source

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    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      4 months ago from U.S.A.

      Hi, Nell, walls do serve their purpose. It's always a task to keep them low. Maybe we will share those stories someday of being construction workers in our hearts. To a talented writer and wonderful soul,

      have a peaceful day. - Tim

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 months ago from England

      Those walls that they keep on about, honestly we don't get that over here thank goodness, we do have Hadrians wall though, lol! Metaphorical ones are much deeper. I have put up a few over the last few years, very long story.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      4 months ago from U.S.A.

      I visited the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. once. It’s a magnificent wall bearing the names of military personnel who died in the Vietnam conflict. Vietnam is now united, and the U.S. has friendly relations with the nation. The wall in Washington is a reminder to look for all options before going to war. War is the ultimate wall. Thanks for reading.

      Sincerely,

      Tim

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      4 months ago from U.S.A.

      The West wall in Jerusalem is another famous wall which represents hope for one group while an invasion for another. Perhaps the Holy city will someday be without so many divisive emotions. Thanks for reading.

      Tim

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      5 months ago from U.S.A.

      Hi, Audrey,

      Thank you for your beautiful and kind comment. You have one of the best tools available to heal and repair the damage of barricades.

      Music is a bandage; music is a sledgehammer; music is a ladder He gave us for the soul to ascend over any wall. In this, you are an expert in the craft of reducing walls to rubble.

      I am blessed to have shared articles and encouraging comments with you as well.

      May peace be yours.

      Much respect and admiration to a positive, kind, and talented author,

      Tim

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 months ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      There have been a lot of references to walls lately but nothing as remarkable as your poem and article. I found myself being drawn to the different kinds of walls that exist as I read through your magnificent presentation.

      Thank you for helping me see so many kinds of walls. How I wish I had the stuff and power to tear down walls of hatred, fear, hunger, poverty, abuse, greed and on and on...

      You are a superb writer! Congratulations for contributing to "Letterpile".

      Blessings and peace to you, Tim.

      Audrey

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      5 months ago from U.S.A.

      Thank you, Dana,

      Your story is inspirational and encouraging. Your story also provides hope for all of us when we surround ourselves with barriers to others and the world.

      Thank you for your thoughtful contribution to this article.

      I will visit some of your work as well. It is the thoughtful thing to do. I've seen your comments on other authors' work, and you are always a positive person.

      Thank you for your kindness.

      God bless you.

      Much respect and admiration to a talented and uplifting writer,

      Tim

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      5 months ago from U.S.A.

      Thank you, Lora.

      Your response captures the heart of everything I was striving for in this work. When we think about the stories of the City of Troy and Humpty-Dumpty, soldiers and the nursery rhyme character still achieved their goal: getting over or through the wall. As a person who visited Berlin, such was the case in that city, too.

      I think it's amusing my article has advertisements for the Trump resort. I love the irony, but this was never a political work. I was examining the long-game, as you pointed out, which inevitably, involves politics.

      Walls on the outside only leads to barriers on the inside or vice-versa.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and read my poem.

      Much respect and admiration,

      Tim

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      5 months ago from U.S.A.

      I agree, Dream on. Walls are temporary protection. I think if we pay attention to the needs of our brothers and sisters, regardless of where they dwell, then over time walls will be unnecessary. Even within prisons, if those inside are not attended to properly with respect to acting as citizens, there needs will drive them to eventually wind up back in prison once they are released.

      Within a nation, free citizens should act free. Here I mean they should become acquainted with the feared "free" other. There are good and bad people behind walls and outside of them.

      If you read the first stanza of my poem, the scene should be familiar throughout history: from Germany, the U.S., Rome, etc. Friendships is the cure to walls.

      Thanks for visiting again and commenting.

      Much respect and admiration,

      Tim

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      5 months ago from U.S.A.

      In 1961, the Democratic Republic of East Germany built the Berlin Wall, also known as the “Iron Curtain.” It was built to stop East Germans from defecting to the West. The 96-mile long structure separated East Germany from West Germany. The East German nation was supported by the Soviet Union (Russia) while the U.S. and her allies supported the West German nation.

      Approximately 5,000 individuals did escape from the East to the West, but nearly 140 lost their lives trying to do so. The Cold War, which was the catalyst for building the wall, ended in 1990. People began to tear the wall apart, piece by piece. However, chips and bricks of the Berlin Wall were sold on ebay by “wall peckers.” Ironically, the wall was removed to keep East Germans from leaving the East as well. Yet, now Germany is a powerhouse united nation. Walls can serve such strange functions sometimes.

      Thanks for reading.

      Sincerely,

      Tim

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      5 months ago from U.S.A.

      Hi, Dream On,

      I'm glad you were able to stop by and leave such a kind comment. Good writers need a great community in order to flourish and develop their craft. Such is the case with you - you are a skilled poet who provides inspiration as well.

      Walls only fortify insecurity; time is a master of demolition. Time can't be fenced-in. History is the best teacher of that for people and societies. Nothing is impenetrable, except nothing, given time.

      We are blessed to have the HP community.

      Thank you again.

      Sincerely,

      Much respect and admiration,

      Tim

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      5 months ago

      Walls are many different things to many different people. Your creativity sparks new ideas. Thank you for making us think. An amazing writer can express themselves with the utmost accuracy that we feel your touch. You have done such a great job. I am blessed.

    • Lora Hollings profile image

      Lora Hollings 

      5 months ago

      Love your poem Tim! Throughout history, it seems as if walls have been tried by rulers or governments and have failed as you have so figuratively stated in your eloquent poem. Walls have proven to be unsuccessful in what they were intended to keep out. Walls represent a physical barrier but they also conjure images of other barriers which may be far more destructive for our society. Is a wall really an answer to solving a much greater problem of social intolerance and a long term solution? The physical wall becomes a wall in our hearts and in our minds and becomes a much greater wall to understanding each other and in living in peace with one another. Walls will never be a substitute of the need for humanity to expand our boundaries in accepting one another and creating a much more tolerant world where everyone can prosper.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      5 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      As a woman who has had a traumatic childhood, I spent most of my life "living behind walls" I isolated myself from family and friends and refused to form new friendships due to fear of trust.

      I wrote poetry as a child but stopped for years and when I started writing again my poems were so dark I realized I was in a lot of pain. I allowed the walls to crumble when I realized I wasn't living life just existing; and, I was robbing myself of the beautiful life I had the right to live.

      Now, I try to make better choices with who I allow into my life. People can be cruel and life can be scary but if you start building walls to protect yourself you're living in seclusion while everyone else is living. Great article and was exactly what I needed to see at the moment I saw it.

      God bless...

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      6 months ago from U.S.A.

      Hi, Mark,

      I received your email concerning a blurb for your book, and I would be honored. The reason you hadn't heard back from me is because I needed to check to see that there wasn't some joker playing a trick.

      I'll love the honor.

      Also, your comments are always insightful and full of the wisdom of a man who has given great thought to the human condition.

      Much respect and deepest admiration to a talented and gifted writer,

      Tim

    • Mark Tulin profile image

      Mark Tulin 

      6 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

      Another great theme, Tim. I often think about how others boundary themselves from one another. Not only fences, hedges, or walls. But other types of boundaries to push other people away or separate themselves. Psychological boundaries, elitist boundaries. Money is perhaps the greatest wall. With money, you could build yourself a big home with a huge gate and a Berlin-type wall surrounding it. The images in your poem were fantastic. There are so many ideas attached to a slab of concrete.

      Also, Tim. Would you be interested in writing a short blurb for me on an upcoming chapbook of poetry? I would be honored, but if you're busy, I'd understand.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      6 months ago from U.S.A.

      That is a great song, Sean. Ironically, it was banned on British airwaves for many years. It's funny: even people who deal with education can appreciate a great tune like that. We lay those bricks, and we can remodel those walls, inside and outside.

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Much respect,

      Tim

    • Sean Dragon profile image

      Ioannis Arvanitis 

      6 months ago from Greece, Almyros

      An excellent work you've done here my dear Brother, and so relevant to the times we live! You reminded me of one of the greatest musical works ever. The Wall by Pink Floyd! Thank you for your effort for world awakening.

      "We don't need no education

      We don't need no thought control

      No dark sarcasm in the classroom

      Teachers leave them kids alone

      Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!

      All in all it's just another brick in the wall.

      All in all you're just another brick in the wall."

      Gratitude!

      Sean

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      6 months ago from U.S.A.

      Thanks, Bill. That means a lot coming from an accomplished writer such as yourself. I appreciate it.

      Sincerely,

      Tim

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I was a master wall-builder in my youth, until I realized that walls were preventing me from growing. The walls are no longer.

      Love your poetry, rapid-fire like a machine gun, pay attention or you'll miss the best part....excellent, Tim!

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      6 months ago from U.S.A.

      One common myth states that the Great Wall of china can be seen from the moon. This is possible only with a powerful telescope. The Great Wall of China extends nearly 5500 miles, but it is in pieces which favor the topographic surroundings, making it difficult to see clearly. However, aboard the International Space Station (ISS), some astronauts have reported noting the Great Wall. The ISS orbits about 250 miles above the Earth.

      But once a person goes above the karman line, about 62 miles above the planet, clearly seeing objects on Earth can be difficult. Unless a person is looking for a mountain range or a big desert, man-made items are virtually unrecognizable. The Great Wall does show up distinctly in radar images taken by the space shuttle Endeavor. I suspect walls vanish or appear depending on your point of view.

      Thanks for reading.

      Sincerely,

      Tim

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      6 months ago from U.S.A.

      Thanks, Nell for adding a thoughtful comment to this article. I appreciate your insight and contribution. Yes, we do build our own walls and prisons.

      I hope your day is going well, and may your weekend be peaceful.

      Much respect and deepest admiration,

      Your writing colleague, merely an ocean (not a wall) away,

      Tim

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 months ago from England

      Interesting stuff Tim. Funnily enough, one of the main things I remember hearing my friend say years ago, was, 'We make our own prisons, but we are the only ones who can knock down those walls.' So very true.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      6 months ago from U.S.A.

      Interestingly enough, in 1958, CBS broadcasted the series "Track Down." One interesting episode was called: The End of the World. During this particular airing of the show, a fictional character, Dr. Walter Trump, attempted to sale locals a wall which was supposed to protect them from a meteor shower. He was eventually arrested for his fraudulent claims.

      Some times reality can be stranger than fiction. On this, I kid you not. I learned this thanks to Talkingpoints.com, and apparently, the show can be found on Youtube.com.

      Thanks for reading.

      Sincerely,

      Tim

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      6 months ago from U.S.A.

      Eric, I can honestly say I wish I was there with you, brother.

      Until you have met someone who tried to escape the walls of imprisoning poverty and abuse, then it's hard to understand the plight of these people. True, everyone isn't a saint, but that's true on both sides of everything. We do need the law, of course - I believe you would agree - the Law of His Love.

      I have a friend who was persecuted in a Middle Eastern country, even imprisoned, for simply not wishing to worship the way the government dictated. With help, her family dug tunnels to escape, eventually, finding a job with our government when she reached America.

      She speaks three languages: Farci, English, and Spanish - I hope her skills are useful down there.

      Her family truly understands what walls can do to people.

      Much respect, prayers, and love,

      Sincerely,

      Tim

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      6 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Tim we are headed back down south at midnight tonight. Just stuff like clean water, blankets and food. That border must be vigilant but that don't mean we cannot be vigilante in caring for our brothers and sisters and kids on that side. Coffee and my special lemonade will keep us sharp. I think we might be the "counter" caravan.

      Folks have forgotten about them. Not on our watch.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      6 months ago from U.S.A.

      Thank you for dropping by, Hayley.

      I appreciate your comment on my article.

      Walls are fascinating and they can lead to interesting scenarios.

      Much respect,

      Tim

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      6 months ago from U.S.A.

      Thank you, Ms. Dora. Your comment is always valued. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

      Ms. Dora, thanks for being supportive and always kind. It's people like you who help others build fortresses for protection and climb over walls of all kinds in life.

      Much respect and admiration,

      Tim

    • Hayley Dodwell profile image

      Hayley Dodwell 

      6 months ago from United Kingdom

      Fascinating read!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 months ago from The Caribbean

      I liked Andy Rooney for his ability to pick an item that seemed insignificant and develop it into something grand. You reminded me of him here. Suddenly I see walls in so many different places, having so many different purposes. Really good work in both poetry and prose.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      6 months ago from U.S.A.

      Eric,

      My creative, thoughtful, and skillful friend of many talents - Really?

      You went over the Vatican wall? That took a sense of bravery and daring.

      I like what you wrote here:

      "I ain't never seen a boundary that wasn't worth crossing."

      I look forward to reading about the Rio Grande.

      I can relate to walls keeping footballs and other flying objects from landing all over the place. Everyone of my brothers and sisters played some sports and we had baskets filled with every type of projectile you could imagine.

      Thanks for your kind comment and sharing your experiences.

      Much respect and admiration to a wonderful writer and brother,

      Tim

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      6 months ago from U.S.A.

      Hello, J Beadle,

      thank you for your insightful contribution and kind words. I remember when I was young, watching our president telling Mr. Gorbachev to tear that wall down separating West and East Germany. Likewise, we have to get on with sincere communications in our nation and around the globe.

      Walls can protect, but they can keep the natural state of human oneness from happening.

      Yes, I just put up a fence to keep out deer and foxes from my own yard. The beauty of irony is not lost on me here.

      Sincerely,

      Tim

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile imageAUTHOR

      Tim Truzy 

      6 months ago from U.S.A.

      Hi, Flourish,

      I love that: "Cats don't honor fences." If they did, my dogs would be bored. They have made friends with the local cats. I frequently catch them resting in the yard right beside each other.

      I can understand why borders are important, like you said. I remember reading you went to a very impressive university, and I am sure they had their reasons for wanting to secure the "perimeter" as my dad used to say.

      May be things will change and we will reduce our fears of "the other." You are a brave soul to do so already around your home and our neighborhood (HP).

      Have a great day and wonderful week, Courageous Flourish.

      Thank you for being supportive and thoughtful in your comments.

      Talented and prolific in your many writings, you make me smile with your wit and insight into human nature and music.

      Sincerely,

      Tim

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      I like your poetry and the musings on symbolism in literature. I especially liked your line about the daughter.

      I’m not one to endorse walls in practice. When I was in college, my university literally started to build a wall and tall decorative fencing to separate the campus from the surrounding city. There was a homeless problem and i attended an elite private university that didn’t want them sleeping on campus or coming on property at all really. Although homeless has never been my issue, building walls felt strange to me. Were they keeping us in or others out? Now in my neighborhood development my neighbors erect backyard fences and there’s no way to get from point a to b except using the street. I don’t mind the occasional kid cutting through my backyard on the way from the bus stop to his house. The fencing is all different styles and heights too. We are one of the only ones who didn’t build a fence. Cats don’t honor fences anyhow.

    • JBeadle profile image

      J Beadle 

      6 months ago from Wisconsin

      I like the mix of prose to support the poetry. Someone I read elsewhere had said walls weren't as important as the empty space they create within - the space where we seek shelter and the places where we like to reflect on the happenings outside of the walls. It's difficult in life when a person puts up a "wall" but they sure create many of the inside places I am drawn to. Great original hub.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      6 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      This is just great. I love walls. In part to pay for my undergraduate degree I built walls. On Saturday last we went to our neighbors house to shore up their side of our mutual fence. Her little 80 year old frame is to die for. And then she blue taped ours out of shape. My boy is learning how to hammer in nails.

      Our walls keep footballs, soccer balls and golf balls in except the "oops" and neighbors toss them back.

      Funny but in my creative work which is all I have in my War of Art I just have to tear them down. I scaled the wall of the Vatican once and dropped in just for kicks with some Spaniards. I ain't never seen a boundary that wasn't worth crossing. More later about the Rio Grande.

    working

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