Jenny Joseph

(1932 / Birmingham)

Warning - Poem by 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.

Comments about Warning by Jenny Joseph

  • Prabhata Kumar Sahoo (4/20/2017 11:42:00 PM)

    This is an universal problem & the topic nicely presented. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Oratile Diratsagae (4/14/2017 11:54:00 PM)

    this is so good. peace (Report) Reply

  • (4/5/2017 11:56:00 PM)

    Making up for sobriety of her youth, is bland poetic thought. (Report) Reply

  • Ingeborg Von Finsterwalde (3/12/2017 1:31:00 PM)

    At this age we have the right to act a little crazy. I think I may try this routine myself. Thank you for the suggestion. Great poem and fun to read.

    (Report) Reply

  • (2/16/2017 4:05:00 AM)

    It's a very funny and fine piece of prose and would form a basis for a good story. Not poetry though. (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (12/30/2016 4:55:00 PM)

    tom allport
    nice poem of what it might or might not be like in a future of wearing purple clothes. (Report) Reply

  • (12/17/2016 2:02:00 AM)

    The old age woes and little wishes of the great mind here in this poem and likes. (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (12/16/2016 11:39:00 AM)

    Lovely poem based on the poet's articulations about what she would like to do or how she would like to be seen when she is old and retires from active life. But before that happens 'maybe I ought to practice a little now? ' Enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (12/16/2016 2:24:00 AM)

    It reminds me of the song OLD AND WISE popularized by ALAN PARSONS PROJECT....... (Report) Reply

  • Paul Brookes (12/16/2016 1:44:00 AM)

    This has always been one of my favourite poems and still is (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (12/16/2016 12:44:00 AM)

    Suddenly i am old. Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • (11/20/2016 7:47:00 AM)

    I really love this poem for its humour and underlying wisdom. My son once sent me a link to the poem, maybe he notices it coming on me :) (Report) Reply

  • Shareq Rahman (11/18/2016 11:36:00 PM)

    Old age.
    I am already old and I like poems about old age. Old people cannot hope to be as mobile and carefree as young folks. You might break a bone or get a sprain. The internet has added a lot of color and wisdom in my old age. (Report) Reply

  • R Soos (11/16/2016 10:51:00 AM)

    Humor, with a great point...
    Love it. Why wait? LOL! ! !

    I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
    And pick flowers in other people's gardens
    And learn to spit.
    (Report) Reply

  • Earnest Gatuma (11/6/2016 2:41:00 PM)

    Ummmh I would guarantee this poem really does give a strong envision of when I grow of old age.... (Report) Reply

  • Pen Anthony (11/5/2016 3:28:00 PM)

    The honesty in the poem, the liberation in the poem... The old me is spoken for (Report) Reply

  • (9/30/2016 11:36:00 AM)

    As I get older I seem to think of purple as my new favourite colour, almost! (Report) Reply

  • (9/18/2016 2:23:00 PM)

    Funny cute and sweet. Delightful. I want to be old like that. (Report) Reply

  • Mizzy ........ (9/9/2016 1:07:00 PM)

    A delightful read....Great post! (Report) Reply

  • (7/4/2016 2:30:00 PM)

    Spoken like a true rebel! She certainly gives us Oldies plenty of good ideas! Must plan ahead.
    A very funny and delightful poem!

    Tom Billsborough
    (Report) Reply

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

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Monday, July 30, 2007

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