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

Jenny Joseph

Three “old” poems — one for my grandmother, one for my mother, and one for me.


When I am old, I shall buy a piano
And rest my fingers lightly on the keys, curved just so.
I’ll retrain them to move the way they did when I was a girl,
The time I accompanied my brother, Nichol,
While he played his violin for Calvin Coolidge.
I’ll play hymns on the upright

And sing along
With the nobody in the room.
And I will drink dessert wine
Even though I am a Baptist
One glass every night before bed
Because my doctor said I could.


SCN_0071When I am old, I shall plant a garden
Not of practical vegetables like green beans and carrots,
But a banquet for the eyes.
A sumptuous spread of colors
That changes from week to week,
Crocuses, daffodils, bachelor buttons, and poppies.
I shall plant it close to the road
IMG_0494For the passers-by to feast upon
If they but take their time.
But to those who drive too fast,
I will shake my fist
And shout –
“Slow down!
You’re missing the best part of life!”

IMG_8576When I am old, I will pump iron.
I’ll pull my kettle bells out of the closet
And swing them.

I’ll do squats and lunges,
Deadlifts, presses,
Russian twists,
And Turkish get-ups.
My body may wear the softness of a slowed metabolism
But underneath I will be strong –
Strong enough to arm-wrestle with my children
And laugh at the absurdity of the thing
But still occasionally win.

18 Comments on “Old

  1. I am so happy you stopped by my blog on the A to Z Challenge. (www.vintagedazecolumn.wordpress.com) When I saw the name of your blog I was intrigued and had to come take a peek. Oh my goodness, I just love it! Especially the posts about your mom and dealing with her Alzheimer’s. I’m sorry about your loss. I know it’s a dual edged sword. You’re happy to see them out of their misery, yet miss them with every cell of your being.
    I am sending this link to my sister to read too!

  2. My favorite parts… drinking dessert wine, shaking a fist at those who don’t see my garden, and fighting the physical loss of age. Beautiful poetry reminding me that age is only detrimental if we allow it to be.

    • If you knew my grandmother, you would understand how monumental that dessert wine was!

      Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  3. Did you write these wonderful poems? I love the sentiment behind them. Happy A to Z ing.

  4. Love these poems! Did you write them or are they poems you particularly enjoy?

    • I wrote them. The original poem, “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple,” is by Jenny Joseph and has been around for a while. I just followed the format, but made it fit my family.

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