Friday, March 4, 2011

illustration friday (warning)

(a poem by Jenny Joseph, 1932~)

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.

(I don't know why-- but I just fell in love with this poem the first time I laid eyes on it. Maybe I'm just the right age to be thinking about these things. And the words drew pictures in my mind. D.D.)


  1. Sounds like a good plan to me!
    I'm not familiar with the poem but I think you might possibly like the work of English comedian Pam Ayres.

  2. @Carole, I just googled Pam Ayres and listened to her reading a poem about teeth. I laughed out loud (which I rarely do). Thank you for telling me about her. :D

  3. Have you heard of the Red Hat Ladies? A big phenomenom a few years ago (and still going pretty strong) where women over 50 get in groups wearing purple and red hats and do fun stuff together. I am sometimes mistaken for a red hat lady since I wear red hats for two of my shows :) I was not familiar with the rest of the poem, however, and love it!!

  4. Yes! I just learned of the group yesterday. It seems too highly organized to appeal to me,though. :p

  5. Is it just me, or is there something wrong with a group of ladies conforming to a dress code prescribed in a poem about individualism?! I feel like going to a red hat group and wearing green and yellow. I love the poem though.

  6. I loved that poem the first time I read it, and every time I see it. Thanks!

    Your work is beautiful!