Wednesday, August 31, 2005

When I am an Old Woman

Jenny Joseph wrote this gorgeous poem about being an old woman...

I just heard a story about an old woman...

she goes to the grocery store, does her shopping, picks up a watermelon and feels chest pain. she checks out anyway, but she looks peaky and the clerk helps her out of the store. the clerk can't pick up watermelon because it's too heavy, so this old lady picks it up again to put in her car!

doesn't that just sound like something _I_ would do?

The following has been one of my FAVORITE lifetime poems since I was 17, I think; maybe younger! since i first read it for sure. "Red-hat" societies have become increasingly popular and use this poem for their motto. I'm a bit chagrined because I loved it before they did, but thrilled that it's got such wide exposure and fondness.

As for me, I intend to carry a permanent marker and correct people's misspellings without care for "ruining" their signs.

But I don't think "people" will be too shocked and surprised when suddenly _I_ am an old woman and start to wear purple!

"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."

- Jenny Joseph

No comments: