Purple Poetry And The Papers

I was fed up with waiting for the newspaper to be delivered, got up and had a shower and was about to get dressed, when MrQ brought the papers in. I hopped back into bed and thoroughly enjoyed reading about Edward Hopper, pooters, Oprah’s three hands and Keswick (thinking of Technophobe).

I noticed in the obits that Jenny Joseph has died. I’m sure there are many on here who will know her famous poem, Warning.

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 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.  

I first came across it in the mid-seventies when I was helping my children choose and learn poems to recite competitively for the Cambridge Festival. It was in a book from the Poems and Pictures series called People. We had the whole set including Creatures Small, Creatures Large and Sea and Shore. It was named Britain’s best-loved postwar poem in a BBC poll in 1996 and again in 2006 and inspired The Red Hat society in America.

In the Style section of the paper there was an article about dusting off one’s purple clothes. I was already aware that the Pantone colour for 2018 is a purplish colour called Ultra Violet. A coincidence that Jenny Joseph died in a purple year. How strange that when I was talking to MrQ about Warning he waggled a purple-socked foot at me! He has every colour of sock under the sun to co-ordinate with his jazz gear but rarely chooses to wear purple. :) 

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