It Might Be Otherwise

I’ve always been drawn to Jane Kenyon’s poem “Otherwise.” Her words help me to stop and reflect upon what’s happening in the moment. How often do we not pay attention and appreciate the little things in our daily lives? Kenyon wrote,


“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

candle sticks. 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.”


I’d like to borrow Kenyon’s words as a prompt for a Writing is Good Medicine® exercise. Take a moment and ask, “What are the little things that I need to pay attention to?”


Follow the rules: write what comes to mind; do not cross out or erase; forget grammar and punctuation; and stop at 5 minutes.


Please feel free to share your writing in the blog’s comment section.

(3) Comments

  1. Thank you for this. Beautifully necessary to contemplate.

  2. joann roth oseary

    Celia Engel Bandman, A woman like no other!

  3. Vicki Dejnozka

    I love this and it is so true. We so easily forget.

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