When I am An Old Woman

Orchid Bum

Orchid Bum

I shall indeed wear purple!
I’m assuming you know Warning, the poem by Jenny Joseph?
No? You don’t know it? And you’re how old?


Well, if you’re 50 or more, I think it’s time to introduce you to this gem. It is fabulous, and terribly appropriate for senior ladies like us. You see, we care less.
It’s not that we don’t care — it’s just that we care less what people think of us. That’s a very important distinction.
Geranium Roxanne

Geranium Roxanne

We know what’s important. And what is not important!
Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon

We love life and we want to display our love for this wonderful life by wearing the colour purple. Yes, it’s a colour that is maybe a tad inappropriate —  to some. But not to us. And what do we care what they think? It’s a beautiful colour!


Many of our favourite flowers are purple.
Like this very simple mallow. It is delicate and gorgeous, like us.


Or this pungent purple chive flower. The bees absolutely love it!
Chive Flowers

Chive Flowers

Or if you want something a bit more elegant, you could try this lovely purple crocus.


These ladies don’t care what others think of their wardrobes! They wear their gowns with absolutely no shame. Jenny Joseph would be proud of them.
Here is her 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.
Now where did I leave that red hat?
This entry was published on October 9, 2013 at 6:16 pm. It’s filed under Children, Contrasts, Family, Flowers, Nature's Gifts, Nostalgia, People, Perspectives, Pride and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “When I am An Old Woman

  1. I can’t believe I have never read this poem before. It is a reminder that life is too short! It is a reminder that we should be more like children. Free to ‘feel’! I think of the many photos of Catherine that have been posted in her many different attires and think how envious I am of her. Everything she puts on is absolutely perfect for the mood she is in. Thanks for posting this purple passion segment.

    • I’m glad you like it. I used to share it with my students too. You can imagine 16-year-olds’ reactions to this message! 🙂 The difference is that many of them don’t have to make up for the sobriety of their youth. 🙂 In part because they are still youthful.

      • I think that my grade 9 English Teacher introduced me to that one – she was wonderful at making us think 🙂

        Love the poem, the post, the purple 🙂

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