Part I is about war, persecution, cruelty of humankind, and the cruelty of history. Novak writes with strong passion about the persecution of the Jews. Part II returns again and again to the themes of cold and dark, winter and nighttime, life ending in death. Some of the poems in this part promise that spring will return, but remind us that even when spring returns, death will still remain part of the human condition. Part III reminds us that giving birth is painful, and being born is painful, and life itself is full of loss in an unkind world. However, in this part Novak introduces the concept of comfort found in memories. Part IV gives us hope and encourages us to embrace life and celebrate beauty, love, and the return of light.