Poetry: Expect Nothing by Alice Walker

Expect Nothing by Alice Walker

Expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.
become a stranger
To need of pity
Or, if compassion be freely
Given out
Take only enough
Stop short of urge to plead
Then purge away the need.

Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With caress unmoved and cold
Make of it a parka
For your soul.

Discover the reason why
So tiny human midget
Exists at all
So scared unwise
But expect nothing. Live frugally
On surprise.

I’m not sure why this poem speaks to me – perhaps because I hate surprises. It is interesting poem, in that it is (to me) teaching us that life should not always be lived to the fullest (wildest), “Live frugally on surprise.

Alice Walker is the author of one of my favourite books, The Color Purple.

2 thoughts on “Poetry: Expect Nothing by Alice Walker

  1. It’s easy to understand anyway, I’d say, but the short lines and rhyme really work in its favour there. The number of times your expectations can be too high can make surprises unwanted.


    1. Having read this a few times now, and pondered over it, I think I see it more as – if you over do the special things, they stop being special.


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