When I Am Old

After Jenny Joseph’s Warning


When I am an old woman I shall walk barefoot

and drive a tiny convertible with the top down all year round.

I shall tell people exactly what I think of them, whether they want to know or not,

and eat all the carbs and have two desserts.

I shall stay up late and sleep all afternoon,

and take up smoking, fat joints and vanilla cigars.

I shall wear a bikini and not care a fig about my tummy,

and let dust settle and dishes pile up, even when there are visitors coming,

because I have spent all day reading.


You can sing in the supermarket and say no to things

and have cats you love like babies.

Or drink champagne at lunchtime

and rant about young people’s manners.


But now we must drive a sensible car

with room for the children, and drink plenty of water

and be polite to people at the school gates.

We must do the ironing and keep the noise down.


But maybe I ought to practise a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

when suddenly I am old, and start to walk barefoot.


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