Friday, February 19, 2010

February's Poets

Part 2
Alice Walker (1944-) is best known for The Color Purple, a novel which won her the Pulitzer Prize and became a movie. She is the author of 17 other novels and short story collections, ten collections of poetry, and eleven non-fiction titles. She was born in Eatonton, Georgia, the eighth child in a sharecropper’s family. Her brother accidentally shot her blind in one eye with a BB gun, disfiguring her. Ridiculed by school children until age 14, when surgeons removed the scar tissue, her experience enabled her "to see people and things... to notice relationships and to learn to be patient enough to care about how they turned out." High school valedictorian, she attended Spellman College, where she met Martin Luther King and became a leading civil rights activist. On transfer to Sara Lawrence University, she published her first book of poetry while still a senior.

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.

Further Reading:
The Same River Twice
Alice Walker Banned

Content developed by local resident and poet Leland Jamieson, author of:
21st Century Bread (2007)
In Vitro : New Short Rhyming Poems Post-9/11 (2009)