A Poem to Lift You Up

A Poem to Lift You Up

When I first read “Warning” by Jenny Joseph, I instantly loved it. The first two lines propelled me into bliss. This poem feels like a beautiful, vivid, daydream. This daydream is playful and whimsical. It is an antidote to the restrictions of time and practicality that make us submissive to our needs but not to our hearts. There is so much joy that is elicited in this poem, calling for freedom and eccentricity now!


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.

- Jenny Joseph 

-Bethanie John

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Spotlight on Artist Katherine Corden

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