Many of these pieces are filtered through an almost elegiac tone. We watch the author walk the tightrope of our times with heightened awareness that the next moment may change everything, as in Kiss for the End of the World. She sometimes pinpoints presence becoming absence with images of disappearing: the fig that rides its fallen bough into a hole as big as night in Survival, or the Word on the Tip of Your Tongue. The relationship between nature and self is explored with appreciation and respect. Images of light and sound from the physical world often connote the fluidity of escape, a sense of vacancy, a poignant lack: the dragonfly outside a hospital window, fireflies illuminating more than a man intended.
Attention is the faculty that Simone Weil called “the very substance of prayer.” These poems attend to the senses, drawing us in with images that are precise, startling and evocative. The poet wends her way back in time and forward in psychological space. In All the Greens in the Wheel, the movement of time pushes us to think about the departures and arrivals in our own lives. Eliot says, “Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,” and Snell comes to her conclusions patiently, all the while condensing and distilling the perceptions she gathers.