Spender, Stephen. "What I Expected".
Summary and Analysis
- unrhymed, with the exception of occasional imperfect rhyme
- the speaker briefly describes his romanticised expectations about war, then shifts to devote the remaining ¾ of the poem to the description of his own unromantic experience of war
- did expect a tough struggle of man against man
- but: did not foresee the long days of inactivity corrupting both body and soul, the depressive processions of the crippled and dying, the intrusive questions weakening the will, etc.
- concludes with his general disillusion about the lack of "trust" to keep him aloof the horrors of war