Posted by: Admin | July 18, 2010

ADVICE WORTH TAKING – 3

I have always thought secretly that growing older would be a liberating experience as life gradually sets me free from the bonds of conformity. Consequently, I have always loved Jenny Joseph’s poem for its mischievous, defiant, yet strangely wistful declaration of intent:

Warning

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 the 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 practise 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, 1961

my lovely, fun-loving Nan, who never missed a chance to kick up her heels - and, metaphorically at least, always "wore purple".

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Responses

  1. I did this poem for one of my speech and drama exams at school and I’ve always loved it.

  2. Did you pass?

  3. Jo I love this, and will be taking youradvice, possibley starting from today!! May as well start as I mean to go on! And what a fab picture of Nan x


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