Poetry Friday: I’m Glad It’s Not Otherwise

h1 February 16th, 2007 by jules

As we end Valentine’s week, in which we take the time to make a bit more demonstrative our love for our dearest ones (particularly those with whom we eat “dinner together at a table with silver candlesticks” — see poem below), I’m going to share something that a friend shared with me this week (madly mad props and thanks to Shannon). The poem, you see, is a lovely valentine to life itself. This is a new poem to me and a new poet, too — Jane Kenyon, who as you will read here, published four books of poetry in her lifetime and was married to Donald Hall, our current poet laureate. Kenyon died of leukemia in 1995, making this poem even more compelling.

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.

Read the rest of the poem here at Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, which is a wonderful thing, no matter what you think of Billy Collins and his poem, “Introduction to Poetry” . . . oh my do I remember the long, heated discussion (always a good thing, though) at the Child_Lit listserv over that poem and what it has to say about the analysis of poetry.

Their image/logo here links straight to the Poetry 180 site itself. And here’s a list of all the poems and poets, if you’re inclined to go find yourself a new poet today, too.

Happy Poetry Friday to all.

10 comments to “Poetry Friday: I’m Glad It’s Not Otherwise”

  1. Nice poem, J. It really puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

  2. To borrow some Toy Story lingo, we are the uni-mind today, Jules. I love Jane Kenyon.

  3. Oh Mitali, I’m honored to be your psychic brain twin (to lift Lisa Graff’s words from this week). Here’s to Kenyon’s great poem . . . and thanks again to Shannon for sending it my way.

  4. One of my absolute favorites. Thank you for this. The whole collection is as poignant…

  5. Thanks for the post! I definitely need more poetry in my life!

  6. Jules,

    Great poem selection! Jane Kenyon is one of my favorite poets. My beloved father-in-law passed away in 1998. At his funeral service, I read Kenyon’s “Let Evening Come.”

    Here’s a link to the poem:

  7. P.S. I like “Introduction to Poetry” and I share it with the students in my children’s literature course. When I read the poem every semester, I usually see several students nodding their heads in agreement. I feel students should be given more opportunities to discuss their emotional responses to poems–in addition to their intellectual responses. Too often, students are turned off to poetry by an overly critical approach to the genre. I wonder if that is one of the reasons why so few adults choose to read poetry.

    I have heard that some people think that the poetry of Billy Collins is “too accessible.” So be it–I buy his books. And I love the Poetry 180 website he established when he was Poet Laureate.

  8. I hear ya, Elaine. I like the Collins poem, too. I just remember the interesting, complicated discussion about it at Child_Lit yeeeeeears ago.

    There is a problem, in my humble opinion, with anyone who thinks a poet lesser if s/he is “too accessible.”

  9. Jane Kenyon is one of my alltimefaves. OTHERWISE the whole book is tattered and worn and for good reason. THANKS for posting.

    “Having it Out with Depression” is another fave.

  10. I am looking for poet Diana DePalma. I don’t see a search function on your site. Can you point me in the right direction please?

    Thank you

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