“Warning” by Jenny Joseph (poem)

This is one of my absolute all-time favorite poems.  Every time I read it I chuckle and picture a happy, little old lady wearing a purple sundress, red hat, and sandals living her life fully and unapologetically, making the most of every moment and not having a care in the world.  One day I will be that little old lady.

Warning
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.

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