When I am Old I Shall Wear Purple


I have been in love with the poem by Jenny Joseph “Warning” for many years.

On a recent visit to the Wired Witch of the East CLICK HERE TO SEE STORY,

the poem once again found its way into my life.

I have been wanting to blog it for sometime and have decided to add photos of any aging and cantankerous Tin Man (please note none of the photos are of the actual me)  to make the poem mine

I hope you enjoy my interpretation and that I have not offended Ms. Joseph or any members of the Red Hat Society.

………………okay…………..here goes………..

When I am an old [Tin Man] 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

I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells

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 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.

11 responses »

  1. Well, I’ll be damned, Tin Man! I have glitzy purple toenails, purple earrings, and eat 14 sausages at a go. Few people know the writer is English; when I used it in speeches, I read it in a Cockney accent. MER

    • My dearest Wired Witch of the East………..I can see the toenails, purple earring; however, I am doubting you would eat 14 sausages at a go…………perhaps duck confit…….when we are togethr again you must dress appropriately and give us your rendition of “Warning”……..after some wine, of course!

  2. Love. Love. Love. What a fantastical nod to Jenny Joseph ‘s “Warning” poem. Maybe she’ll spot it? I hope so!! My favorite line: I shall go out in my slippers in the rain And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens. Sweet and sassy. I also love your photograph. They play well together. Off now to find my slippers. . . Big hugs!! T. (I didn’t release she wrote it in 1961.)

  3. Yes, I too, love, love this post! Growing older has its advantages. I want to wear purple also and as J. Alfred Prufrock said, “I grow old…I grow old…I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.” Cheers, Tin Man!

  4. The burning question – when does one start wearing red hats instead of Manolo red stilettos and start nibbling samples instead of watching Manny Pac fight. I’m going to celebrate my 77th birthday on Aug 7, Purple looks dreadful on me. I don’t want to rob rose gardens. The Wizard of Oz is still my favorite movie. I’m not going gently into that good night – not yet. Virginia

    • Virginia, my dear, I believe there are some that should never wear purple and I say that looking at those great abs of Manny is much more tasty than any sample you could nibble. Leave the red hats for others and slip on those Manolo stilettos, grab some Prosecco and meet me on the patio; we will watch the old people stealing your beautiful peonies!

  5. Quite wonderful! And the photos are hilarious.
    As a happily old person of Virginia’s age — I plan to use Manolo Blahnik (or anyone else’s) stilettos only for their proper purpose — to stab someone I detest!
    But never never never on my feet, which deserve better.
    And that’s what “Warning” means to me — I’ll do what I WILL DO, and not what anybody else wills me to do.

    • Oh my dear, your comments are a blog entry all by themselves! How wonderful you made the end of this tiresome day! Hand me one of you stilettos and we will go after them together (I have a list made)! You are wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!!!

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