Shades is a book of shadow and light cast between trees and sun, between day and room, between life and death. It acknowledges endings as beginnings; it offers compassion and tenderness, searching for hope in the richness of nature; it seeks the same resources within the human being.Heather McHugh's companion volume to To the Quick (Wesleyan 1987) continues the music and brilliance characteristic of her work but moves more deeply into the metaphysical. She writes in paradox, with serious wit and intensity, the crafted language of "stitches in hand and birds in time"; "We part/ before we part; indeed,/ we part before we meet..." She studies "going matched with coming." She begins with a series of elegies that bring sexuality and death into brutal juxtaposition. Living and dying are the occasions of these poems, the soul the ultimate concern. This poetry takes to heart the fundamental strangeness of being.