Kenyon, Jane

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Aull, Felice
  • Date of entry: Aug-22-2001


The speaker enumerates the pleasurable activities of daily life: getting out of bed "on two strong legs," walking the dog, lying down "with my mate," planning another day "just like this day." Counterpoised to these enumerations, however, is the recognition that "it might have been otherwise." Finally, the speaker acknowledges, "it will be otherwise."


The title poem of Kenyon's posthumously published collection, this work is eerily prescient: Kenyon died prematurely of a fulminant leukemia. The poem was first published, however, in an earlier collection, well before her illness. In typical understated style, Kenyon fuses the quotidian with the profound. Savor the simple and essential things you take for granted, she tells us. But you must take for granted that it will all end.

Primary Source

Otherwise: New and Selected Poems



Place Published

St. Paul, Minn.