What‘s the theme of the poem “ Beyond the Snow belts ” by Mary Oliver?

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The overriding theme is how we often lack empathy for other people's suffering. When we hear of natural disasters and the death and chaos they bring, we go on with our lives as if nothing's happened. Once the storm has passed over, then so long as we're ok, that's all that matters. We can go about our normal business much as before, with children playing in the snow and adults clearing the paths outside their homes.

A natural disaster is just something that happens to other people, not us. A storm two counties to the north of us might as well be taking place on the other side of the moon for all we care. As long as we're not directly affected, there's no point in getting worked up over it. But in lacking empathy for other people's plight we're forgetting our own sense of mortality. What happened to those poor folks two counties north could just as easily happen to us.

Yet the speaker isn't being overtly critical here. She ruefully accepts the simple fact of life that bad news always comes from somewhere else, and that we can't truly be affected by such news unless it directly affects us or the people we care about.

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