Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

Old Woman Warning

There is a modern poem that sparked an entire movement called the Red Hat Society. I will tell you that I loved this poem long before that occurred. 🙂 I have never attended a Red Hat Society tea, nor do I own a red hat, but when I am old, I will most certainly wear purple. This poem was written by 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.

So many poems about aging seem sad. I think that is why I always liked this one. It makes aging seem like freedom to finally be who you really are and do what you want. 🙂


  1. charliebritten

    One of my favourite poems. I used to have a line manager who always wore purple and always had this pinned above her desk.

  2. I say don’t wait till you’re old – wear purple & a red hat now!

    • Definitely not waiting! If you wait until you are old to become a bit eccentric, people just think it is dementia! 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on THE MARVELOUS MUMFORD and commented:
    something positive about aging!!!!

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