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

  • Khairul Ahsan (11/28/2018 10:50:00 PM)


    '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.' - Loved the sarcasm!
    (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Lyn Paul (11/28/2018 3:57:00 PM)


    I am gradually practising every day.

    Thank you Ms Joseph. Wonderful words full of humour and simply I do not care what people think.
    I love it!
    (Report) Reply

  • Jennifer Birchall (11/28/2018 1:48:00 PM)


    I love this poem, really enjoyed it. (Report) Reply

  • (11/28/2018 8:40:00 AM)


    Old, gray and indolent,
    Great poem thanks,
    (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (11/28/2018 4:09:00 AM)


    A beautiful poem nicely executed. (Report) Reply

  • Adrian Flett (11/28/2018 3:10:00 AM)


    Such a wonderful poem to read and enjoy again, as I have done many times. (Report) Reply

  • Mahtab Bangalee (11/28/2018 1:01:00 AM)


    The OLD could not touch her evergreen mind! //// lovely poem (Report) Reply

  • Petals Azureblue (11/28/2018 12:43:00 AM)


    One of the best poem ever on the golden years! !
    Thanks again Jenny for sharing this beauty.
    (Report) Reply

  • (11/27/2018 7:15:00 AM)


    I intend to do all the things mentioned in the poem.......with gusto (Report) Reply

  • (11/20/2018 8:31:00 PM)


    its nugget ok stop get some help (Report) Reply

  • (11/8/2018 12:32:00 PM)


    I have always absolutely adored this poem (Report) Reply

  • (11/3/2018 12:27:00 PM)


    My wife’s favorite poem. She died at age 91; didn’t wear purple except metaphorically. She was a purple person! (Report) Reply

  • (10/5/2018 12:41:00 PM)


    Ive been doing this for years! Well wearing unsuitable clothas and spitting anyway. (Report) Reply

  • (9/17/2018 1:45:00 AM)


    Thoughtful and mindful. Make one think of values. (Report) Reply

  • (8/31/2018 6:54:00 PM)


    Loved your work! ! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • (8/23/2018 4:45:00 AM)


    Looking for a doll of old woman in red hat (Report) Reply

  • Petals Azureblue (8/13/2018 11:02:00 PM)


    The freedom of being old yesss (Report) Reply

  • (6/28/2018 4:55:00 AM)


    w­h­At ­m­Ar­cus ­i­m­p­l­i­e­d ­i ­d­i­d­n't ­k­n­ow t­h­At ­A st­Ay ­At ­h­o­m­e ­m­o­m ­A­b­l­e t­o ­g­et ­p­A­i­d $4252 ­i­n 4 w­e­e­ks ­o­n t­h­e ­c­o­m­put­er. ­h­Av­e y­ou r­e­A­d t­h­is w­e­b ­l­i­n­k­g­o t­o t­h­is s­it­e ­h­o­m­e t­A­b ­f­or ­m­or­e ­d­et­A­i­l.www.jobiron19.com (Report) Reply

  • (6/23/2018 2:39:00 AM)


    I used this poem as part of a sensitivity training class for our in-home care providers while working for the Medicare Alzheimers Disease Demonstration (a federal research project) in the early 1990's. Each time i presented it, there was not a dry eye in the house. VERY POWERFUL! ! By the way, i wear all the purple i can get my hands on, and create as much havoc a possible. ENJOY LIFE! ! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • (6/22/2018 5:36:00 AM)


    Love it! Just what I needed to read after dealing with some jobsworth who cant help you due to the data protection act I am having a brick wall day. I think I will go out and sit on the pavement, (Report) Reply

Read all 211 comments »

# 17 poem on top 500 Poems

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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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