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Warning

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003
Edited: Monday, July 30, 2007


Read poems about / on: purple, money, people, warning, woman, summer, children, rain, red, shopping, child, women, running, flower, friend

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  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (4/17/2014 9:50:00 AM)

    Aging is a natural process of human life and so many changes occuring in that period of life which we have to make so many arrangements to pass the life in perfection and not making disturbance to another relatives or friends. The poet makes her points in perfectly humour and emotional and very good read.

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  • Nika Mcguin (3/24/2014 5:34:00 PM)

    xD this is so funny! Its also funny when she says you can start to collect things in boxes, bc my grandmother on my father's side is actually a hoarder. Yes..after reading this I'm starting to look forward to being a crazy chubby old lady lol. Maybe age is true freedom!

  • Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (11/7/2013 2:13:00 AM)

    SO as you walk into that purple sunset
    And go a little foot loose on all that you can
    Society may come to such minds to reset
    In some institution and it will be a sort of ban

    All ye poets reading this, I welcome you to my page

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  • Anna May Cummings (5/28/2013 5:59:00 PM)

    Great poem!

    When you. are old & gray, KICK UP YOUR HEELS. Age is only a number.

    Had a wonderful time Red Hat Day at the Philo.

    Anna May

  • Joeline Rayment (5/7/2013 12:33:00 AM)

    This I like. Reminds me of an old saying....
    Life is too short to wait until you are old to wear purple

  • Gillena Cox (3/26/2013 9:18:00 AM)

    absolutely love the last verse; gave me a chuckle

  • Pat Townsend (12/7/2012 5:20:00 PM)

    I love this poem as when my elder sister who is 87 made a comment which her family did not like she cried on the telephone and wished she could have retracted the statement, she helped my mother bring up a large family and always acted with decorum all her life, so I sent her a copy of this poem and told her to tell her family she was going to wear purple and buy a red hat and to expect much more to come! it really cheered her up

  • Pat Townsend (12/7/2012 5:19:00 PM)

    I love this poem as when my elder sister who is 87 made a comment which her family did not like she cried on the telephone and wished she could have retracted the statement, she helped my mother bring up a large family and always acted with decorum all her life, so I sent her a copy of this poem and told her to tell her family she was going to wear purple and buy a red hat and to expect much more to come! it really cheered her up

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