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 have no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
and run my stick along 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.
You can wear horrible shirts and grow more fat,
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go..
or only bread and pickle for a week.
And heard 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 to be shocked and surprised
when suddenly I am old and start to wear purple.
This is a poem my friend wrote to me to try and cheer me up one year when I'd had foot surgery. I've treasured it for ever and still have it. She was always so full of life, life so tragically taken away from her last year, after a short fight against cancer. So you see she never got to learn to spit, rattle her stick along the railings and to wear purple. As for wearing purple, well I got to wear pink when I ran for cancer on May 10th this year. The grand total of my efforts has risen to £142.50 . Last year whilst I was in Morocco I visited Marrakesh, where my friend had visited some many years previous, so this was a trip I had to do. The Sunday of the journey to this amazing city had bearing on me reading this very poem, because in England on the same day in a small village called Ilam in Derby-shire, in a church on a sunny day, the family of my best friend were celebrating her life, every one that ever met her was there and by all accounts the church was full. But as I was unable to be there, I had my very own private ceremony.. and I read this poem.............................
shead alot of................. tears.. and told her I loved her and missed her.
She was most certainly with me on the day of the race, more than likely looking down and laughing at me... my naked legs more likey!! She had a wicked sense of humour, she oozed personality and life. At the bottom of the poem, she added 'Hi you, thought you'd like this poem "Warning" I do & I'm getting there sooner than you' Thinking of you strapped & laid up after your operation... see you soon. Love Anita. Or as I'd called her and still do 'nattie.'