" found in schoolbooks from Alaska to Singapore, the poem has been, stitched, stamped, quilted, set to music, printed on cards, written on cakes and made into films, quoted at conferences and funerals, used to cheer up sick friends". It was voted Britain's favourite poem by viewers of a BBC programme in 1996. In 1997 it was published in a book form, with lovely illustrations by Pythia Ashton-Jewell and it has been re-printed about 40 times since.
Quote: "Its declaration of defiance, so vividly and cleverly expressed, appeals to the rebel in all of us".
I was given this little book as a part of a present last week, by my DD, for my 60+ birthday.
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 butter.
I shall sit down on the payment 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
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 may be 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.
I would like to say, that I have been inspired to write this post by something I have read this week on Linda's blog, about her beautiful, bright jacket. Only in Linda's case it has nothing to do with age, but it got me thinking.
I have actually started to wear purple! No, I am not brave enough (yet) to wear a red hat with it, but give me time, the age is on my side!
I have come to realise that I love the age I am. I no longer feel the need to make a "good impression", or to "fit in". I am who I am, I find myself more and more often saying aloud things I would keep to myself some 10 years ago. There are so many things I don't "have to do" any more, it is so liberating!
I am a member of the "grey lobby", which is growing in numbers. I know this is a headache for our government, how to look after us in our old age. But it also means that we have a voice which is getting stronger and it won't be ignored (hopefully not just because they want our vote).
So, hurrah for the purple and red!
The rebel in me is waking up!