The theme of this poem is given away by the title. The poem represents human heritage, more specifically the hertitage of the poet, Heather Buck. I think this poem is her way of expressing her feelings and inhibitions about her painful past and the hardships she endured as a child growing up in a world of adults.
"we hang our quiet landscapes
tipping and tilting them till we achieve
an uneasy marriage "
These are lines 18, 19 and 20 in stanza three, I believe that when she writes we' she is referring to her parents and then she generalises, as if all parents and all families were like hers. I believe she is saying that her parents had a rocky marriage before she was born because she goes on to say,
"Was the child with hands outsteched to the blaze
less constrained? Taking her place
on the trampled earth floor with lambs
brought in from the cold bitter springs"
The child is herself and she's saying that when she was born she was innocent, because her hands were held out to fire which is a symbol of purity. " less contrained? " She uses a rhetorical question there and it says that even though she was a new born baby she was already interwined in the complex patterns' of the heritage of herself and others. Lines 19 and 20 show that she saw that life was not always joyful because they talk about the cold and bitter springs and hardly anyone would describe spring as being cold and bitter if they were feeling happy and positive. Maybe she feels that she brought a new type of pain to her family. Either that or she feels that she was brought into a world already full of pain and suffering.
Then in the last stanza she shows how out of place she felt growing up,
"but the young child is lost in a forest
of towering adults "
From this you can tell that she was probably an only child and perhaps even an unwanted child. The last line of the poem is not open to easy assesment. I think that...