Wisdom Of Other

by Timothy Lusch

Otherwise

Collected Poems by Jane Kenyon 

Jane Kenyon (1947-1995) was a poet and translator from Michigan. After taking degrees from the University of Michigan, she moved with with her husband, poet Donald Hall, to a farm in the northeast. At the time of her death at the young age of forty-seven, she was the poet laureate of New Hampshire.

Kenyon wrote about nature, faith, melancholy, and the everyday. She had a profound spiritual vision rooted in simplicity. Kenyon resonates with us still because of her ability to unearth the joy and terror of being human in the most ordinary things on the most ordinary of days. But, even in her darker verse, the rim of light is always on the horizon. She reminds us in this poem, and in much of her other work, that we must live fully in the now. For, as she says, one day it will be otherwise.

Otherwise

I got out of bed

on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

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