Thursday, November 28, 2019

When I Am An Old Woman

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.

I first encountered this poem in my teens and loved it. I collected it in my treasured poems and quotes and brought it along with me into middle-age. I loved the sense of defiance that runs through it. That the speaker doesn't plan to go quietly into old age, but will go in bright colors and doing all the things that girls who behave have been taught they shouldn't do like wearing slippers in the rain or eating only bread and pickles for every meal...for a week. When you've grown up, you should be allowed to do what you want (within reason). 

Then in 2012, I found this anthology of poems and essays all about women and the aging process at the local library's used book shop. When I saw that the title and leading poem was my long-held favorite, I knew it had to come home with me. And, as often happens, I set it aside while other books on the TBR stacks claimed my attention. It has finally worked its way into the "read" column. 

It is a wonderfully insightful book full of the musings of women (and a few men) on what it means to grow old as a woman. Memories of mothers, aunts, and grandmothers fill the pages. A few women speak with the voice of experience--having already walked that road themselves. The poems are beautiful. The essays are poignant and sometimes disturbing...but they all are worthwhile. A book to reflect on as well as enjoy. ★★★★

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.


Christophe said...

Sounds very intriguing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book.

Barbara H. said...

I've always loved this poem. I looked up this book at my library, and they haveit! So I placed a hold on it.

Bev Hankins said...

Barbara: Glad you'll be able to read it.