Sunday, March 24, 2013

Warning by Jenny Joseph

In response to the post I wrote on little old ladies, my mom sent me this poem:


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


  1. I've read this before and love it too. I came upon it when I was looking up information about the Red Hat Society. I'm too cheap to join a group, so I'm going to be a crone on my own.

  2. Dear Cheryl,
    Thanks for your kind words on my blog. I have noticed your name in the comments section of the NYTimes and have appreciated your remarks. Really enjoy your blog-you have a great way of looking at things!! This poem above was read at my mother's memorial by one of her friend's- very poignant to find it here.
    Keep up the good work and have fun while doing it!!