Why Wait? I Look Good in Purple

We head into the weekend with English poet Jenny Joseph’s 1961 poem, “Warning,” which illustrates what we’d all [?} like to be–free and unhampered by society’s notions of propriety.

Warning
Jenny Joseph

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 read somewhere that Joseph, who was 29 when she wrote the poem, never wore purple because she felt she looked terrible in purple. Unlike her, I wear lots of purple and I look good in it! 😀


About the image: When I shared the sunflowers a few days ago, I mentioned that my Love Notes friend, Eileen V, had enclosed a special treat. The image above–a well executed copy of a souvenir cover of the poem–was drawn inside the card! Isn’t it fun?

10 thoughts on “Why Wait? I Look Good in Purple

  1. Ellen Hawley says:

    I was never respectable enough to understand why wearing purple struck her as an act of defiance. Really. I looked good in it when I was younger–or I thought I did–but somewhere along the way it stopped looking good on me. I know my hair changed color. I wouldn’t have thought my skin tone did, but maybe it has. Anyway, I wear other colors. And I’m still not respectable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JoAnna says:

    I don’t know about beermats, but I feel better about hoarding pens and pencils, many of which came from my parents’ collection. Now, where did I put that purple scarf? 🙂 Great choice for a poem!

    Liked by 1 person

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