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 the flowers in other people’s gardens . . .
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.
My mother is one of the youngest people I know. She is the warmest
memory of my youth, and her hugs still touch me half a world away. My
father makes me laugh, but my mother dries my tears; my father rescues
me from trouble, but my mother guides me away from it; my father takes
me on adventures, but my mother takes me into dreams.
If I am to grow old, let me grow old like my mother. The wrinkles on
her face are the laugh-lines of a life well-lived. I want to grow old
like her, in the company of friends and the warmth of love.
But if I am to grow old like my mother, I will never grow old, only
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