National Poetry Month: Otherwise

It’s the last Monday of the month which means it’s the last poetic version of motivational Monday.

This afternoon I’m thinking about how my back is aching and how my legs are sore and how I’m exhausted. But I know that I have things much easier than someone else.

I recently read this article suggesting that looking on the brightside of things, looking for a silver lining was a negative thing. I vehemently disagree with this line of thought. I have always looked for the silver lining and trust me my life has not been peaches and cream. For me, brightsiding is another way of practicing gratitude. I will honor the struggle and pain that my friends are facing. But I will also remind my friends that we all should be grateful.

I hear so many complaints and less compliments. Jane Kenyon reminds us that, no matter what we’re experiencing, it could be otherwise. Life is full of ebbs and tides. Once we learn to accept that, I feel that life becomes more navigational. My back hurts but I’m thankful that it’s nothing serious. My legs are sore but at least I have legs and that they work. I’m exhausted but at least I know I have a warm bed to sleep in later tonight.

“Otherwise”  — 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.


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