Poetry topic idea: expectation

Today’s poetry topic idea is expectation.

Life is filled with expectation.  There are conscious expectations, like expecting to graduate or expecting to get married.  There are also unconscious expectations, like expecting what a restaurant will be like before you walk in.

A poet could write about expectation in a variety of ways.  A poet could write about:

  • Fulfilled conscious expectations. A poet could write about something a person consciously expects to happen.  They could write about the situation before and after it happens.  They could write about how the person feels in both times.

  • Unfulfilled conscious expectations. This is the opposite of the above idea.  A poet could write about someone consciously expecting something and that thing not happening.  Again, a poet could write about what the situation is like before and after this occurs.

  • Unconscious expectations. As mentioned above, life has unconscious expectations.  There are many times when a person expects things to go a certain way even though they are not aware they are expecting it.  The person is expecting the norm of the situation.
    In writing about unconscious expectations, a poet could take different routes.  A poet could examine expected situations.  They could look deep into them and try to find social significance in what is expected.

    Alternatively, a poet could write about what happens when unconscious expectations are not fulfilled.  In some sense, these might be awkward or uncomfortable moments in life.

    A poet could also examine the process whereby unconscious expectations are formed in a person.  They could examine past experiences of a person and how those experiences shaped the person’s view of situations.


  • The expectations of others. In life, a person often has expectations of others presented to them.  A person might have others expect them to go to college or to get married for example.  A poet could write about these ideas from different perspectives.  They could focus on the others having the expectations or on the person to whom they are presented.  They could look at how the expectations are perceived and at what happens if they are fulfilled or not.

Here is an example poem using the idea of expectation:

the scale

there’s a number
that before looking down
you know

on one side
is happiness

on the other

it’s there
quietly beside you
just out of view