Otherwise

Jane Kenyon

 
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.
 
Jane Kenyon, "Otherwise," from Collected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Graywolf Press, graywolfpress.org.

Poems by This Author

Afternoon at MacDowell by Jane Kenyon
On a windy summer day the well-dressed
Alone for a Week by Jane Kenyon
I washed a load of clothes
At the Public Market Museum: Charleston, South Carolina by Jane Kenyon
A volunteer, a Daughter of the Confederacy,
Briefly It Enters, and Briefly Speaks by Jane Kenyon
I am the blossom pressed in a book,
Christmas Away from Home by Jane Kenyon
Her sickness brought me to Connecticut
Dutch Interiors by Jane Kenyon
Christ has been done to death
Happiness by Jane Kenyon
There’s just no accounting for happiness
Having it Out with Melancholy by Jane Kenyon
When I was born, you waited
Heavy Summer Rain by Jane Kenyon
The grasses in the field have toppled
Let Evening Come by Jane Kenyon
Let the light of late afternoon
Man Eating by Jane Kenyon
The man at the table across from mine
Mosaic of the Nativity: Serbia, Winter, 1993 by Jane Kenyon
On the domed ceiling God
Notes from the Other Side by Jane Kenyon
I divested myself of despair
Portrait of a Figure Near Water by Jane Kenyon
Rebuked, she turned and ran
Private Beach by Jane Kenyon
It is always the dispossessed
Taking Down the Tree by Jane Kenyon
The Suitor by Jane Kenyon
We lie back to back. Curtains
Thinking of Madame Bovary by Jane Kenyon
The first hot April day the granite step
Three Songs at the End of Summer by Jane Kenyon
A second crop of hay lies cut
Twilight: After Haying by Jane Kenyon
Yes, long shadows go out
What Came to Me by Jane Kenyon
I took the last


Further Reading

Poems About Home
9773 Comanche Ave.
by David Trinidad
Notebook of a Return to the Native Land [excerpt]
by Aimé Césaire
Birthplace
by Michael Cirelli
Daily
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Dusting
by Marilyn Nelson
Evangelize Your Love
by Jillian Weise
Fishing on the Susquehanna in July
by Billy Collins
He Foretells His Passing
by F. D. Reeve
Home is so Sad
by Philip Larkin
My House, I Say
by Robert Louis Stevenson
On the Disadvantages of Central Heating
by Amy Clampitt
Opus 80
by Arthur Davison Ficke
Proclamation
by Stuart Dischell
Psalm of Home Redux
by David Lee
Steppingstone
by Andrew Hudgins
Sysiphusina
by Shira Dentz
Te Deum
by Charles Reznikoff
The Bedroom
by Paula Bohince
The Cabbage
by Ruth Stone
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
by W. B. Yeats
This Is Just To Say
by William Carlos Williams
Untitled [I grew up in North Adams]
by Brenda Iijima
Wonder Cabinet
by Tina Chang