Friday, 26 March 2010

Warning, by Jenny Joseph

This is in response to the excellent poem, “What Do Women Want?”, by Kim Addonizio, posted by Red Dirt Girl, at Through the Garden Gate.


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.
Jenny Joseph

Jenny Joseph wrote this in 1962. I'm not sure if she's wearing purple yet.


  1. HEY! i was going to post this pome! no honor amongst thieves ... great pome.


  2. No honour whatsoever, RDG, this is posted by a man who'd misbehave in a train museum.

  3. My exwife wanted to be one of those "red hatters".

    It seems they have taken this little gem you have displayed here and ran with the idea.

    All of which means absolutely nothing. But, I do wonder why she said I was the immature one ?

  4. Mac:- let your ex have her Red Hat. In fact, buy her the purple dress too.

    (Soubriquet Enterprises will shortly be introducing a line of purple clothing for the Jenny Joseph followers, and "Rippable Red" dresses for the Kim D'Annizio followers).

    As for why she calls you the immature one, answer me honestly. Do you ever talk to that bike?
    I would.


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