by Jenny Joseph
When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on Brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, 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 the 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 pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts 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 for 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.