Jenny Joseph


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


# 21 poem on top 500 Poems

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  • Gold Star - 34,963 Points Aftab Alam Khursheed (10/31/2014 9:52:00 AM)

    A warning to the spendthrift, and a warning not to spoiled but be an example with the act to the young, do fun but don't be funny (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 17,682 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (9/5/2014 11:05:00 PM)

    The live and its future a mystic poem that I think it is. The poet here made a wonderful poem and lot of things proposed in the old age and in the end of the poem she says her wishes that to become good examples for the children. And the starting comments and wishes of spending the old ages comes through an end and getting a nicety of thoughts to love the children which seems to be the different thoughts in the minds of an individual in her or his old age naturally coming. I liked the poem in letter and spirit. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 67 Points Sharilynn Reaser (6/24/2014 4:26:00 AM)

    Except for the references to alcohol I can relate to this poem and find it rather comedic. I am starting to reach the age where I really don't care about what people think about what I look like or how I dress myself; so the imagery depicted of her dressing in a different way and acting differently, the not caring what others think, is fun. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 17,682 Points 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. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 776 Points 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! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 394 Points 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 (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Zemo Deka (10/25/2013 1:38:00 PM)

    my gf's aunt just got an awesome 6 month old Volkswagen Touareg by working parttime off of a pc. Read Full Report http: // (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Buja Kipa (7/9/2013 3:17:00 PM)

    my friend's step-mother makes $66 hourly on the internet. She has been fired for 6 months but last month her paycheck was $20051 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this web (Report) Reply

  • Rookie 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 (Report) Reply

  • Rookie 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 (Report) Reply

Read all 91 comments »

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