“Otherwise” by Jane Kenyon
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
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.
From Otherwise, 1996
Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minn.
Copyright 1996 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota from Otherwise: New and Selected Poems. Copyright 1996 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon. For further permissions information, contact Permissions Department Graywolf Press, 2402 University Ave., Ste. 203, St Paul, MN 55114. www.graywolfpress.org
About the Poet
Jane Kenyon (1947–1995), former Poet Laureate of New Hampshire, was the author of four volumes of poetry. Her collected poems were published by Graywolf Press in 2007.
Learn more about Jane Kenyon at The Poetry Foundation.