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When I Am An Old Woman

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 I've no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarms 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 peoples gardens
And learn to spit.

I can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausage at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats
And things in boxes.

But now I must have clothes that keep me dry
And pay my rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
I will have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practise 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

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