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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


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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.

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 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.



Well ladies, not to be outdone - we've found TWO versions of poems relating to 'Old Men'...

When I Am An Old Man

  I shall wear my old slippers whenever I choose.
  Have popcorn and pickles while on my armchair cruise.

Dance around in my bathrobe, put my false teeth in a jar,
  Make friends of my enemies and talk "love", not war.

Eat ice cream for breakfast and spend some days abed.
  Nod off in the sunshine over books I've not read.
  I'll drink milk from the carton, eat peaches from their tin,

And throw away my neckties, grow whiskers on my chin.
  Make music on an old guitar to chase away the blues,
  And scratch where it itches, forget to shine my shoes.
  Wink at the girls and give a big grin,
  Notice the sunsets and let the dogs come in,
  On Holidays I'll wear fine shirts, plaid trousers that are loose,
  And let one of the youngsters carve the turkey or the goose.
  But now, we must get to work on time.
  Save every nickle,penny and dime.
  Be proper and prim, stay healthy and fit.
  Pay our taxes and not complain about it.
  But maybe I'll begin doing some of these things now,

Like forgetting my manners when I'm eating my chow,
  So our friends will recognize me on that far away day,
  When suddenly I am old and begin acting that way!

 ~ by Donna Schwarz & Elizabeth Lucas  ~

   When I am an old man.

When I am an old man, I will wear plaid trousers,
let my shirt tail hang out on one side on Tuesdays,
and wear ties that clash with everything.
I'll carry a cane whether I need it or not,
to waggle at people who ask stupid questions
and poke pretty young girls.
I'll have my ear pierced, the one that says you're gay
(whichever that is)
and grin if someone mentions it.
I won't smile on Thursdays, even if I'm chuckling inside,
I'll never be angry on Sundays,
except in months when the sun doesn't shine.
Maybe I'll shave, and maybe I won't,
depends on which eye I open first in the morning.
I'll spit in public places, but not on people's shoes,
unless they deserve it,
and belch from both ends when the spirit moves me.
I'll eat tacos for breakfast, ice cream with salad,
drink tea with honey, coffee with maple syrup,
and rum with nothing at all.
I'll stare everyone straight in the eye,
give my opinion on everything under the sun,
if I'm asked, and especially if I'm not.
I'll forget how to spell "rules" but not "integrity",
"obligations", but not "responsibility",
"expectations", but not "honor".
I'll speak to God direct, help him out when he needs it,
but gently, cause mainly he does good work,
when people leave him alone, that is.
I'll cry at movies and funerals,
laugh at my own mistakes, if I make any,
hug my sons and my daughters every chance I get,
raise my hat to any woman wearing purple.
I think I'll have more fun
saying what I think,
being who I am,
staring at the stars,
when I am an old man, wearing plaid trouser