WARNING by Jenny Joseph

I came across this poem a long time ago when I was fairly young and loved it. I found it inside a book the other day and thought I would share it, since now I AM that old woman! I expect a lot of you have already read it.

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 the flowers in other people’s 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 have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too surprised

When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple.

The Black Dog

The black dog growls

His shadow falls across me

My lips can’t move to speak

Slack-limbed I lie

Drawing painful breaths

The black dog snarls

Joy has disappeared

Love is pale, smothered,

Fear and nameless dread

Invade my shivering soul

The black dog bites

I am consumed.

A Love Poem by Claudio Bertoni – translated from Chilean.

(I have looked on several sites but cannot find a title for this poem. (This poem reminds me of ancient poems translated from Irish, not in the sentiments but in the structure.)

I’d like to be a nest if you were a little bird.

I’d like to be a scarf if you were a neck and were cold.

If you were music, I’d be an ear.

If you were water, I’d be a glass.

If you were light, I’d be an eye.

If you were a foot, I’d be a sock.

If you were the sea, I’d be a beach.

And if you were still the sea, I’d be a fish, and I’d swim in

you.

And if you were the sea, I’d be salt.

And if I were salt, you’d be lettuce, an avocado, or at least a

fried egg.

And if you were a fried egg, I’d be a piece of bread.

And if I were a piece of bread, I’d be butter or jam.

If you were jam, I’d be the peach in the jam.

If I were a peach, you’d be a tree.

And if you were a tree, I’d be your sap . . .

And I’d course through your arms like blood.

And if I were blood, I’d live in your heart.

Everything is Going to be All Right – by Derek Mahon

Derek Mahon, Belfast man, died yesterday aged 78. He was considered one of the most innovative Irish poets in the sixties and seventies. This poem has been widely quoted since the arrival of Covid 19:

How should I not be glad to contemplate

the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window

and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?

There will be dying, and there will be dying,

but there is no need to go into that.

The poems flow from the hand unbidden

and the hidden source is the watchful heart.

The sun rises in spite of everything

and the far cities are beautiful and bright.

I lie here in a riot of sunlight

watching the day break and the clouds flying.

Everything is going to be all right.