This splendid volume of some of the best poems from a fine selection of our greatest poets paints an ageless depiction of civilization's interaction with and questioning of the natural world. Glorious imagery combined with introspection concerning the plight of mankind prevails throughout this excellent collection.
However, amid the poems' vivid descriptions of nature's splendor runs a thread of another type of nature - the nature of being. This is a nature that brings into stark focus the ephemeral reality we share, it questions our direction, the paths we collectively tread and the destiny we all approach. Along our shared life paths we find ourselves surrounded by the beauty and diversity of the natural world, a rustic diversion from the remorselessness of a life that unremittingly approaches . . . who knows what.
Whether it be the trepidation coupled with urgency of Moore, "The rapids are near, and the daylight's past!", or the contemplative comparison of Goethe, "Fate of man mortal, how art thou like wind!", these five magnificent poems encompass common themes - the transitory quality of life itself and the uncertainty concerning that which awaits us; or in the words of Longfellow pondering the mysteries of "the Silent Land," just who or what will be there, "To lead us with a gentle hand / To the land of the great Departed."
- Summary by Bruce Kachuk