Sunday, July 06, 2008

Twenty two years ago tonight I was waiting for Kerry to die. The death date is tomorrow, but it was really a day like today, a SUnday, that we did our waiting and loving and letting go. I have such a rich life now with Bob (sitting in his chair in the other room reading a biogrophy of Aaron Copland, warm and real and loving me and offering to go out and buy me chocolate with ginger in it later.) I have friends and work I love and grown daughters and the good men who love them, and grand children and two more coming. And all of it could change in any moment and I know that. A poem I found this evening fits my mood.

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.

Jane Kenyon was married to the poet Donald Hall. She died of leukemia in 1995 while compiling this collection of poems.

4 comments:

Bob Hendricks said...

There is so much good, changing in a moment is threatening. I guess when there are big problems, like no job, no work, no contact with a loved one, an acute illness, etc., change in a moment could feel hopeful, desirable. Of course, change occurs in every moment but most changes don't change the big picture and may not even be noticed. Funny thing about change. A wonderful poem on one of the biggest changes of all, usually seen as bad, and usually is.

Ruth said...

beautiful poem (and a sweet story). I always wonder about the "otherwises" that could have been--what would life be like now if Daddy hadn't died? I can't even imagine it... and yet at the time it was unthinkable. You've done an amazing job (you know this) of adapting to an unwanted otherwise.

Mary J. said...

Powerful poem, and insightful perspective as you reflect both back and forward on this anniversary, most of all appreciating life and love.

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