A jacket photo of a child's hand cradled in an adult palm signifies Marcus's everfertile theme. His four ""stages of life"" are expressed in headings from the poems themselves: ""Small Traveller"" (infancy and childhood); ""I Am Old Enough"" (youth); ""On Such a Hill"" (parenting and middle age); ""In the End We Are All Light."" The 80 poems are from 60 poets, mostly from the US, with a multicultural representation and a good selection of women (22 poems plus, one assumes, some of the anonymous works). The poets range from Omar KhayyÃ¡m, Shakespeare, Melville, and Hardy to 20th-century masters and less familiar contemporary voices. Eleanor Cameron's ""To David -- at Six Months"" is the only previously unpublished entry; though there's an occasional old favorite (Stevenson's ""The Swing""), most haven't been widely anthologized. There's something here for any poetry lover, with ""easy"" (but not trivial) poems among more challenging entries. Best, these are poems that, as Marcus says in a provocative introduction, ""provide you with a good many starting points for viewing your own, and other people's, life experiences from an enriched perspective"" -- poems of ""urgency and ardor with which the poets...set about the mysterious work of examining their own life stories for traces of yours and mine."" Marcus has judiciously selected poems whose complementary epiphanies make this one of those fine anthologies whose whole is greater than the sum of its excellent parts. Notes on the poets.