Monday, 5 September 2011

Mmm... Monday: Alice Walker, Part the First

This summer a couple of friends of mine let me down something awful, and the only comfort (if you can call it that) I could find was in this poem by Alice Walker. Someone said to me that it was frightfully dismal, but I love it.

Expect Nothing

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.


This starts off in the most perfect of ways; “expect nothing,” which is exactly what my mother has said to me all my life, but I apparently haven't managed to master yet. And the part that really gets me every time is “wish for nothing larger / than your own small heart / or greater than a star.”

If only.

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