Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Warning by Jenny Joseph

Before I get to the poem, some facts:


- I first heard this poem over 10 years ago in my high school psychology class. In that same class, I made a brain out of candy.


- I was in a Red Hat Society for a brief period. Before you ask, yes, people under 50 can join - we just wore pink hats instead.


- My pink hat was a fuzzy pink beret.


- Rather than partake of the usual Red Hat fare of bingo, buffets and Branson, our little group would dine at extravagant restaurants and drink until the management asked us to leave.


- Eventually, our Red Hat group drifted apart, but we still see each other every Christmas. Gifts + food + booze + funny hats = jovial glee.



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 sandles, 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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