Friday, July 1, 2016

It Might Have Been Different - Listening for Echoes

Amy, November 1970
Photo by Debby or George Ludwig

Students - Today's poem is, I suppose, a cross between my own curiosity about what my life would have been like if I'd been born elsewhere (would I be me?) and my sadness about racism and fighting and war.  Each of us is plopped into a life situation beyond our control, and at some point....we begin controlling it more and more.  I feel very fortunate to live in a peaceful place, yet I am very aware that it could have been different.

Writing that last sentence, I heard an echo in it.  In her wonderful poem Otherwise, poet Jane Kenyon repeats the line, "It might/have been otherwise."  And at this moment, I know for certain that the title of today's poem came straight from Kenyon's poem, one I have read over and over again.

Remember to reread poems and books that you love.  When we do this, the rhythms and melodies of line and story become embroidered upon our own writing hearts.

Over at my other blog, Sharing Our Notebooks, you can find out who won the book giveaway of Aimee Buckner's NOTEBOOK KNOW-HOW.  Coming next over there is recent high school graduate, Alexandra Zurbrick, and I am excited to welcome her.

Today you can find Poetry Friday over at Tabatha's place, Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference. Please stop on by and check out this week's poetry joy.

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. A lovely poem and reflection, Amy. But I'm very glad that you are the you that is.

  2. Appreciations for this wise way to look at differences.
    If only every adult with influence on a child's life could share this idea with them as they rise up,
    we would be such a better place.
    Can this become a picture book Amy... I hope so.

  3. Like Dori, I'm happy you're you. Interesting to wonder about those imaginary parallel universes, Amy. There but for the grace of God, go I.

  4. Your questions are ALWAYS good....and thought provoking. Enjoyed this idea and the beat with the poem as well.

  5. A friend and I were talking recently about how lucky we are because of where we "landed". Being aware that "it might have been different" is indeed the first step toward empathy for all the others we might have been. Your poem captures this beautifully!

  6. Love this poem. What wonderful inspiration for students (and people) to walk a mile in someone else's shoes.

  7. I agree with Jan that this would make a lovely picture book, and I admire your "because" and "was" rhyme, which ends up not sounding commonplace at all, except maybe the whole point is each one's common place in the world, wherever it is.

  8. Such important words, Amy. I think about this a lot, too. Re. "I feel very fortunate to live in a peaceful place, yet I am very aware that it could have been different." - Me too, and I'm also aware that just a few streets away from my house, life might not be so peaceful for other families. Much to ponder as a country right now, as well - I hope our hearts remain open.

  9. I posted a comment Friday which I'm glad I came back to check on--it didn't take! I agreed with Jan that this would make a wonderful picture book. I'm so struck by then ending, your graceful rhyme of the commonplace words "because" and "was" and how they work because we all do sit in a common place just because we are. Lovely.

  10. Wonderful poem, Amy. I think that imagining myself as others is partly why I don't hate either. But I can hear my daughter yelling "Put me down!" so I'm out of time to relate. Sorry to be late!