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This poem was a great favourite of Delia's.
by Jenny Joseph (born 1932)
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 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 pickle for a week And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes. But now we must have clothes to 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 practise a little now? So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.