These poems wrestle with the inherited myths of their particular time and place. Often set in a small corner of western Kentucky, they explore moments when an individual life becomes implicated in a larger scheme-- the realm of Cold War politics, the mysteries of religious faith, the codes and rituals of romantic love. Max Garland shows a lyrical determination to deal with history through the lives, minds, and emotions of ordinary people "stricken with time."
In poems about baptism, bowling, Greek goddesses, and the hydrogen bomb, Garland seems to say that knowledge and even revelation might come from anywhere. The book ends with the image of the empty space Michelangelo left between the hands of Adam and God on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; that tension between what lasts and what passes away, comprises the territory of these poems.