“Nothing Gold Can Stay” doesn’t have a concrete setting. Instead, the speaker addresses the reader from a more abstract location. This abstract location initially appears to be associated with the poem’s opening word: “Nature.” Indeed, the first half of the poem centers images that derive from the natural world, focusing on the development, in spring, of new buds that then yield flowers and leaves. In the poem’s second half, however, the speaker shifts registers. Although they continue to draw on images from the natural world, these images become more explicitly linked to human perceptions of nature. As an example, consider the speaker’s reference to “Eden” in line 6. In the Bible, the Garden of Eden represents the natural world in its purest and most exquisite form, where botanical and animal life coexist harmoniously. Though still ostensibly centered on “Nature,” the speaker’s allusion to Eden is arguably less about the natural world in itself and more about a human way of relating the natural world. Specifically, the speaker draws on a Christian frame of reference to lament humanity’s loss of paradise. In this way, the poem may be said to take place within a Christian paradigm of decline.