by Bailey Powell

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.

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.

Iris Apfel, the original old woman in purple.


When I was small (yes, there was a time) this poem hung above my grandmother’s sink and she would recite it to me on request. There are two stanzas missing from the middle but Nany, my grandmother, thought this cut she had found framed in Europe was more tasteful. Although the line between sentimental reasons and personal opinion is blurred, I must say I agree. Always a classy lassy, that Nany.

I hope you all have a lovely day.


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