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We are plagued with wants, yearning for what isn’t in our grasp. The idea of contentment is dismissed because our gaze is toward what isn’t, instead of tasting the glory of those treasures that already fill our days. I struggle with restlessness, but to calm myself, I tend to tilt in the direction of focusing on those ordinary joys that inhabit my life. When I read Jane Kenyon’s poem, Otherwise, I let out a sigh of relief because her prose focuses on this mantra: appreciating your everyday, because one day it might be different, something otherwise.

Otherwise

by 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.

*This post is in honor of National Poetry Month, where I discuss a specific poet or poem that resonates with me. I started the series with Rediscovering Poetry, my return voyage to the poetic world.

Image: The Tree by ***Karen via Flickr

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