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The world stands out on either side/No wider than the heart is wide.
—“Renascense” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

How wide the world?
“No wider than the heart is wide.”
Rather ask how wide the heart:

Enough to gather in the storm
that tears not merely roof from hearth
but soul from soul as well?

Enough to bind the wounded world
bleeding from every pore
weeping in every chirp and howl?

Enough to reach between nailed palms
opened out in love’s embrace,
‘til they circle ‘round the realm of pain?

How wide the heart?
As wide as all the world is wide.

Photo by Max Harlynking on Unsplash

Paul Hooker

Paul Hooker is a PC(USA) minister, recently retired as Associate Dean at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He served in three pastorates over the course of twenty-one years, followed by thirteen years as a presbytery executive and stated clerk. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee (BA), Union Presbyterian Seminary (DMin), and Emory University (Ph.D., Hebrew Bible). He has written widely in the fields of biblical studies and Presbyterian polity. More recently he has published two collections of poetry, Days and Tmes: Poems from the Liturgy of Living (2018) and The Hole in the Heart of God: Stories of Creation and Redemption (2020), both from Resource Publications in Eugene OR. He is a husband, father, grandfather, jazz bass player, and obedient servant of Calder the dog.

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