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4Feb

Most of you know the poem that begins, “When I am old, I shall wear purple.” The poem’s title is “Warning,” and it was written in 1961 by British poet Jenny Joseph.

In 1961, wearing purple was a much bigger deal.  I had a great-aunt, who made pronouncements.  Her name was Ann, but since “Aunt Ann” was hard to say, we called her “Auntie.”

One of Auntie’s pronoucements was:  WE DON’T WEAR PURPLE.

Another one was :  WE DON’T WEAR PRINTS.

I loved Auntie dearly and named my first daughter Katherine Anne after her, but you can see me above, wearing purple and a print.  I think getting older is all about breaking rules, even a beloved great-aunt’s, and it’s all about knowing which rules are okay to break.

Anyone want to offer up some recently broken rules?

Now about the title of Jenny Joseph’s Poem:  ”Warning.”   Is ours the only family where the expression “warning” is sometimes used in reference to the future?

I’m just warning you that when I’m sixty-five, I’m not going to…

I’m just warning you that as soon as I retire, I’m thinking of…

I’m just warning you that if I’m a grandmother, I plan to…

I’m just warning you that someday, I might decide to…

I’m just warning you that when I have my own kids, I won’t ever…

I don’t think it’s bad to warn someone of an action or attitude to come, but what I think the person is really doing is stating  a yearning for a change he or she would like to make right now.   Speak up oh family, and I will speak up too.  Let’s be purple-wearing brave!

Jenny Joseph ends her poem:

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.

What about you?  What warnings could you put into practice right now?

Poet Jenny Joseph

  

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