[Poetry Friday]: Getting Old and Wearing Red Hats

poetry friday

Iphigene Here.

Yesterday, I was in search of the poem I wrote inspired by my old humanities professor. I had it in mind to share today for Poetry Friday. As I prepared to write my post, I couldn’t it. I had printed majority of my old poems and had kept it in a brown envelope and I think my brown envelope has taken its summer break and is currently MIA.


But all is well, as how can we talk about being grey and golden these past two months without sharing the very poem that set me thinking about this theme too many years ago. Today, I share a poem about growing old and wearing purple! (I got all giddy remembering this poem and quite surprised we never featured it yet). I included the video where the poet reads her poem.

Thanks to Robyn Hood Black for hosting today’s Poetry Friday. Head on to her round up for more poetry!


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.

10 comments on “[Poetry Friday]: Getting Old and Wearing Red Hats

  1. Thanks for posting the video — had heard of the poem but never knew all of it and certainly wasn’t familiar with the poet herself. Great ending!


  2. Jenny Joseph does have a mischievous gleam in her eye, doesn’t she?


  3. I’ve seen the poem here and there over the years, but never seen the video or really knew anything about the poet. What a delight! Thanks for sharing. :0)


  4. Doesn’t this just make you want to go sit on a curb and spit with a friend like her?!


  5. maryleehahn

    I love this poem! Thanks for sharing it, along with the video.


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