At least 15 years ago, when I first read Jenny Joseph’s poem Warning, I remember feeling: ‘Yeah, then I’ll rebel and do what I want to do, when I am old’!!

This was in my ‘deepest motherhood, no money’ period, when I felt very taken for granted and had, what seemed like, few rights of expression or validation, however hard I worked. I was very resentful!

I’d also forgotten that becoming a mother (with no money), had been my choice as much as anyone else’s! (don’t worry, I eventually learnt how to express what I was feeling, took responsibility and got my needs met).

Now I’m a bit older  (not ‘old’ though – yet!), I feel quite differently and I’ve written a response to Jenny Joseph’s poem.

My poem: Re-assurance

When I’m an old woman I don’t want to wear purple!

I don’t like it now and I don’t think I’ll change.

It reminds me of faded, Victorian, fringed tablecloths,
musty interiors, dark and quite strange.

Why, when I’m old, should I buck my own values,
my tastes honed and tested, evolved over time?

I am what I am due to trying and refining.

With experience to guide me, I’ll be in my prime!

I won’t want to rebel against social propriety,
Minimal ‘sausage-eating’ or ‘no reading at meals’!

I won’t need to make up for a lifetime of piety
So I won’t have to practice things I don’t actually feel!

Penny Budgen

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