Jenny Joseph

(1932 / Birmingham)

Jenny Joseph Poems

1. The Sun Has Burst The Sky 1/3/2003
2. Warning 1/3/2003

Comments about Jenny Joseph

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (12/14/2015 12:46:00 PM)

    Jenny Joseph (born 7 May 1932) is an English poet.

    She was born in Birmingham, and with a scholarship, studied English literature at St Hilda's College, Oxford (1950) . Her poems were first published when she was at university in the early 1950s. She became a journalist and worked for the Bedfordshire Times, the Oxford Mail and Drum Publications (Johannesburg, South Africa) .

    Joseph's best known poem, 'Warning', was written in 1961 and is included in her 1974 collection Rose In the Afternoon and The Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse.
    'Warning' was identified as the UK's 'most popular post-war poem' in a 1996 poll by the BBC. The second line was the inspiration for the Red Hat Society. Due to its popularity, an illustrated gift edition of 'Warning', first published by Souvenir Press Ltd in 1997, has now been reprinted 41 times.
    Her first book of poems, 'The Unlooked-for Season' won a Gregory Award in 1960 and she won a Cholmondeley Award for her second collection, 'Rose in the Afternoon' in 1974.

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  • Alice Cox (11/13/2014 12:29:00 PM)

    This is one of my favorite poems. It reminds me that the simple things are the most important and we forget to enjoy them. As I am aging and slowing down, I cherish the moment of a beautiful blue sky, sunrise or sunset and know that my memories and the love I received from others will be what I take with me when I pass to the next dimension.

  • Chrissie Simon (9/30/2014 4:11:00 AM)

    As for Donna Jackson, what a boring old fart she already is, without knowing it. So tightly held by her magic pants! How funny! Donna thinks she gets it, bless her, but she is so far away from the truth even a Sat Nav couldn't rescue her!

  • Chrissie Simon (9/30/2014 3:55:00 AM)

    I love this poem! It's all about saying to hell with responsibility! We've done that, our children have been brought up, we've had the responsible jobs, etc. Now, it's our turn. I'm already halfway there, having been asked to leave John Lewis, for playing on the escalators! Huge fun, and the staff members were laughing as much as me. I do need to learn to spit though, and whistle with my fingers in my mouth. Oh! And learn to play the saxophone. Ageing is inevitable, maturing is optional x so there. Nur.

  • isabel Storey (3/10/2014 3:42:00 AM)

    In case earlier message not getting through - am seeking your permission to include When I Grow Old at the end of a long short story 'Earning Purple which i plan to publish soon. isabeldorastorey at gmail dot com

  • Valentin Savin Valentin Savin (1/14/2014 7:31:00 AM)

    I liked the poem though it sounds funny. Old people do not care much for being dressed as models. Sometimes they do not have money to buy new clothes and they prefer to put on something old and comfortable for them.

  • Claire Thomas (4/13/2013 2:20:00 PM)

    Great poem.I nurse patients with dementia and recognise this attitude to life.They are great and thats what keeps them going!

  • Carol Woodward (12/27/2012 10:43:00 AM)

    What a brilliant poem. I intend to do just that! Bring on the purple!

  • Karen Sinclair (10/2/2012 2:12:00 AM)

    Just perfect...... really, that she should dream after a life of restrictions and following societies rules and restraints, she looks forward to age as an excuse to finally express herself.....amazing write which made me smile and giggle and also made me sigh a sigh of relief that my parents at least gave me the confidence to wear what i want and express myself from an early age....

  • Terri-marie Newland (1/18/2007 3:47:00 AM)

    I just want to comment to the post below. im studying GCSE literature, including Jenny Joseph's Warning. and your ideas on it been a social cult was totally wrong. the idea that these women took the symbolisynesm to wear red hats and purple clothes is their intake on the poem. but Joseph herself meant something entirelly diffrent. in my opinion (and maybe you dont care as in only 15) you should analyse poems alot more and learn their intentions to what people graps for them, before you start making assumptions into what quite clearly is a fantastic poem.

Best Poem of 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 ...

Read the full of Warning
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