Otherwise – Everyday Gratitude

Several years ago my computer crashed big time. When everything was being reinstalled we could’t find the disk of fancy fonts I’d used for years. Occasionally now I come across a document that’s indecipherable because the particular font I’d used is no longer installed.  Usually I can figure out a word or short phrase, especially if it’s a title for an accompanying image,  but I wrack my brain trying to reconstruct what I’ve written in longer pieces. The other day after opening yet another unreadable document, I took the time to look more closely and realized the unintelligible symbols were Greek letters.

A light bulb came on! Some brilliant computer geek coded the Greek alphabet as a default setting for documents when the original font used was no longer readable by a particular computer. Not readable as in “it’s Greek to me… ” Hilarious, clever and thoughtful! By typing out the Greek alphabet and comparing the Greek letters with the Roman alphabet, I was able to decode the previously undecipherable. There really was a way to recover what I thought was otherwise lost.

The writing piece that emerged is my poem written under the influence of Jane Kenyon’s delightful poem Otherwise about everyday gratitude. It records my savoring of an ordinary day in a summer five years ago, doing ordinary things with a grateful recognition that one day is might be otherwise. To see Kenyon’s poem that inspired me, click the following link before you read any further – http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/050.html 


I got out of bed

on two stiff legs

it might have been

otherwise, I swallowed

aspirin, with

water and flawless

coffee. It might

have been otherwise.

I washed buttery yellow

paint from a cutting brush.

All morning I did

the work I love.

After noon I lay blue tape

along door jambs. It might

have been otherwise.

We ate dinner together on a

picnic table with placemats in a

garage open to the air. It might

have been otherwise.

I slept in a bed

in a room with sea

foam  walls, and

planned another day

just like this day.

But one day, I know,

it will be otherwise.

If you were to create your own Otherwise poem that expressed your gratitude for the everyday, ordinary things you love to do, what would you write? How does the phrase “it might be otherwise” influence how you savor everyday experiences?

I hope some of you will choose to post your own Otherwise poems!

3 comments to Otherwise – Everyday Gratitude

  • Maureen

    To consider otherwise made me consider and express thanks for today.

  • Deanna J Bowling

    I may yet submit my attempt at a poem, I say that very loosely. Having said that so, my take on this piece is that at this stage of my life when it is healthier than ever before, that my turn on the words would be that it has been otherwise, rather than it will be otherwise.

  • Melinda Kornder

    I lay in bed at 3 a m, listening to my husband snore;
    It might have been otherwise
    I watch my daughter and her 3 year old, laughing in a small plastic pool
    It might have been otherwise
    I drive North, beside the Ocean, to a job I look forward to doing
    It might have been otherwise
    I relish the laughter of a high-school era friend:
    it might have been otherwise
    I read to my grandchild, who is starting to read at three;
    It might have been otherwise
    I drive up to Pine Mountain for a picnic, just to smell the clean sage-scented air
    It might have been otherwise;
    I go to sleep, surrounded by my old cat, my snoring dog, and my sleepy husband
    It will someday be otherwise
    I dream of my Mom and Dad, and wake remembering their voices
    I wish I had known it would someday be otherwise…I do, now

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