The poem can be summed up thus: Whenever human beings start believing that they have mastered their environment and start believing in a misplaced sense of superiority over mother nature, then they are setting up their own doom. We as a species will always remain products of nature and to that extent subordinate to the wellbeing of our natural environment. Through the course of our planet’s history, we as a species are only recent arrivals. One day we will perish too, while Mother Nature with her mix of the animate and inanimate objects will continue to live and dictate terms.
This poem assumes an added resonance, as it directly appeals to the environmental activism that is witnessed across the world today. Terms such as global warming and environmental degradation have started finding everyday reference in print and broadcast media, highlighting the critical juncture at which our planet is poised. The Moment is a valuable addition to the popular discourse on these subjects.
The poem differs from others in the genre in that it easily lends itself to be paraphrased into expository prose. To the extent that this is true, the poem is not subject to various contrasting interpretations. In the poem, lines such as “house, half-acre, square mile, island, country” and words such as “trees”, “birds”, “cliffs”, “air”, “breathe”, etc make it adequately clear what the subject matter is, namely that of our natural environment. Treating these objects in nature as endowments of mother nature, one could propose a contrarian feminist interpretation of the poem. This would be to interpret planet earth and its resources as representing feminine qualities of creating and care-giving. And just as the subordination of women to men had held back human civilization for millennia, the subjugation of nature to our species is also a regressive idea. Hence, a careful reading of the poem reveals to the reader the underlying didactic attitude of the