Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When I am an old woman

Get out your red pens! Here's your chance to edit my poetry before I take it to a writers' workshop tomorrow night. The draft below is a riff on Warning by Jenny Joseph. Let me know what you think ... and thanks to my Facebook/blog friends who saw this last night and commented! (And to Bud, who made me laugh with an email re: the importance of never, ever wearing a red hat.)

When I am an old woman
©2010 Jan Sokoloff Harness

When I am an old woman, I shall wear black
except to funerals. Then I’ll wear green to show I’m alive.
The friends I am burying will understand.
And I shall spend my savings on good wine and leather-bound books
and red flannel shirts and say there’s no money for a walker.
I shall never sit on the pavement, even when tired,
or on a bench or in a rocker. I shall sit in the driver’s seat
of a baby Benz and drive with the top down every summer.
I shall go out in my jammies to pick up the paper
and sip Jamaican coffee with cream while my collie runs free
and happily amok in the nasty neighbor’s yard.

You can have gorgeous white hair and laugh lines you’ve earned
and eat bagels and lox, dark chocolate and salads,
or only bread and butter if that’s what you want
and be glad there is nothing you care to hoard.

But now we must have sensible shoes and a working umbrella
and pay for the toll roads and for tuition
and read the obituaries just to keep score.
We must do lunch and check our email and answer every beeping call.

But in the future, I will be fun again. I will be me.
And people who know me will not be shocked
when suddenly I am old, and still wearing black.

(With apologies to Jenny Joseph, author of “Warning”)


Joan said...

I want that person to be me. I love the poem and will keep a copy to remind me what I am shooting for.

Jane said...

I just got to your poem, which I LOVED. It is exactly what I needed at this time as I continue to deal with grief and try to figure out what I want to be and do -- what I want my life to be like -- as I move forward, ALIVE!