A Warning


I’ve been channeling my inner crone since my surgery. I quite like her spunk. She reminds me of Warning, a poem 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.

You can read the rest here.

Here is my Warning:

When I’m recovering from surgery,
I will wear a purple nightgown even when
collecting my newspaper midday.
I will groan when rising from a chair
quite as loudly as I wish, whoever is near.
I will send children to fetch blankets,
saltine crackers and stacks of books.
I will ignore the phone, nap in the afternoon
and pant in the shade with a glare for
nimble birds with blithe acrobatics.
I shall graduate to dresses, worn as if I’m off
to a party, too exclusive to mention.
I’ll park badly, abandon my shopping cart
without a care in the middle of the way,
and eat ice-cream for breakfast.
I shall spit my words as if they are
cherry pits in winter.

Perhaps I should teach my children
a stoic resilience that forbids weakness.
I should open my mail, tidy my kitchen,
churn the corporate milk into cream.

Or perhaps I should throw off expectations
and have a day of nightgowns and naps.
Otherwise, my children might be quite worried
when I wear my purple nightgown outdoors at midday.

Note: Do you feel moved to deliver your own warning after the universe has delivered your daily bread? I’m in the mood to appreciate it. Happy Poetry Friday and thanks to Tara Smith at A Teaching Life for hosting.

poetry friday button

On a happy note, I visited Liz Brownlee and learned about UK National Poetry Day which is celebrating message poems this year in an outpouring of wonderful words already, culminating in the day, October 6. The Forward Arts Foundation and Liz Brownlee, as ambassador, welcome participation around the world. Liz celebrated a poem of mine as NPD Poem of the Day a few days ago, This is just to say…. Thanks, Liz!




Have a magical day, full of fire, spirit and verve.




72 thoughts on “A Warning

  1. The way to took the ode to purple and transformed it, through honor and inspiration, was wonderful, Brenda. I had thought I had stopped by during your convalescence but apparently, so far see no visits.
    😦 I wish I had. . .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah yes, it one of my favourite poems! I happen to love purple, I wear it already, so, I’m definitely going to wear it all the more when I’m old – with flamboyance ….haha! 😀
    I love your version too Brenda – trying to imagine you doing all those things! I guess when you’re recovering from surgery …..you can do what you damn well like, and no-one would want to challenge you. Enjoy being free to do what you gotta do, and I really hope you find a new you very soon! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Brenda. I posted a comment a while ago right here and it went to your spam folder. WP has been trying to help and asked me to test your site with a comment to see if all is fixed. So here goes. Could you retrieve me from spam if you see this. Thanks a bunch! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like you are doing great!
    I don’t have a purple nightgown. I can’t find 1 purple piece in my wardrobe. However, I have turquoise, so I will wear that to remind me to say hello to Sath for you! I’m going to an International Street Art Festival this weekend & Sath will be there. (& many more fabulous artists). I just bought the new Iphone 6S so I should get some great shots. Very excited!!!!


  5. Ha! You had me laughing out loud. What a wonderful WARNING! I had foot surgery about two years ago and I can so relate to the content of your poem. In a way, it’s how I feel about summer vacation as a teacher! I just want to let loose and be myself in my most comfortable clothes. What a delight you gave us all. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I look at cars parked badly entirely differently now that I’ve had surgery six times. Sometimes, staying between the lines just doesn’t matter as much as putting one foot in front of the other without falling on your face. LOL I don’t know why that is so funny to me, but I don’t argue with a gift. 🙂 I’m glad you took y poem in the vein it was intended. Honest snark is the best sort.


  6. Sounding like quite the little spitfire in that poem. Warning is taken – because it sure sounds like you mean it! 😛 Feel better soon. Glad that you can still celebrate words while you are in recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Here’s to purple nightgowns, pampering, and HEALING!! Glad you’ve got enough spunk to write a fun spin-off! I used a mentor text this week, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I know that book, and poem, believe you’ve given me a poem to return to whenever I want to show a certain “slant” to the world, Brenda. I love that you included the frown to those “nimble birds” and choose ice cream for breakfast. Small things after surgery help a lot. I hope they continue to aid a speedy recovery! Thanks for the smile!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well, you are too young to be a crone, but I like that you are practicing your sass. Your rendition of the “Warning” poem is great! I love the thoughts of “park(ing) badly” and abandoning your cart! I do wish you speedy healing with warmest thoughts, and the wearing of purple nightgowns whenever you want.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nothing makes you feel older than surgery except perhaps for being genuinely in your 90s. Since I’m not there, I can’t say. I will note that I have seen women in their 90s looking more spry than I feel at the moment. But sass is better than defeat any day. Thanks for your receiving my sass with appreciation. I had more fun writing my warning than is good for my health. LOL


  10. I wish you a quick recovery, take things slow. 😊 Thanks for sharing the delightful Warning – sometimes I want to be that crone; and, for sharing your own Warning. You do deserve and need some pampering these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Such fun! I’ve always loved that poem by Jenny Joseph and in fact have a framed copy in my home. I so enjoyed reading your version. Keep taking it easy and healing– I think a day of nightgowns and naps might be just the thing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Molly. Attitude keeps me going. 🙂 I’m actually putting on a bathing suit and going to a lake this afternoon, and it’s only been a week. I hope I’m really up for it! The doc said I could swim the next day if I wanted, but I think he’s never had stomach surgery.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Have you heard of the Red Hat Society? They were purple dresses and red hats. They are all over 50 and celebrate nothing in particular when they get together monthly. Love both poems. I’m not a poet, but I have had enough surgeries to appreciate what you are going through. Happy mending.

    Liked by 3 people

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