November 12, 2014

"The world stands out on either side "

The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,
No higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through.
But East and West will pinch the heart
That can not keep them pushed apart;
And he whose soul is flat -- €”the sky
Will cave in on him by and by.

-- Edna St. Vincent Millay, Renascence

Posted by gerardvanderleun at November 12, 2014 9:06 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Great poem. Sadly, the literary establishment downgrades it, probably because it rhymes.

Posted by: Fat Man at November 12, 2014 10:24 AM

What a wonderful world! Yeeaah.

Posted by: Jimmy J. at November 12, 2014 2:46 PM

I loved this poem when I was 15. Just a few weeks ago I revisited it after -- my God -- 40+ years? -- and found that I loved it all the more, if a bit differently. A pleasant surprise. Another pleasant surprise to see it posted here with tender respect at a site I visit daily. Two other bits of verse stand out from my youth that I still hold dear: Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" and Edgar Lee Masters' "Silence". Thank you, Gerard. You are a good man. We'll be friends someday.

Posted by: Matt Burchett at November 12, 2014 3:52 PM

I included this poem in a poetry anthology I had to assemble for a project in 8th Grade. 8th Grade! I was introduced to etymology in that class. To philology, to some great literature, but more than anything else, I was taught to love poetry in a non-ironic way.

Thanks for the reprise.

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at November 12, 2014 4:17 PM

The "Wide Wide World" TV show on NBC - long time ago, I know - ended with Dave Garroway reciting the first four lines of this poem. Maybe it was "Wide World", maybe it wasn't Garroway, but it was someone and I was about six or seven (ten?) and it touched me deeply. Just rememberin' the old times.

Posted by: Ike at November 12, 2014 6:22 PM

Ike is exactly correct. Same place I first heard it.

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