Ann Winfred's Coming of Age Croneicles

Ann's when I wear purple

Ann Winfred,  Coming of Age Croneicles, posted this essay on her blog about Jenny Joseph’s poem “Warning”:

http://comingofagecroneicles.com/when-i-am-an-old-woman/

WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN…

The teacher of my senior chair yoga class mentioned the other day that she finds herself inexplicably attracted to wearing purple after sixty years of being less than enthusiastic about the color. Her confession set off a dinging in the twisted coil of synapses I laughingly call my memory, so I climbed up the rickety steps to my brain to find the source of that dinging. Flipping through my Rolodex of recorded thoughts, I found it. Sometime back in my 30’s, I heard the phrase, “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple,” and was intrigued by the sense of freedom and bravado the words conveyed. Not knowing if the phrase was a quote, a poem, a song or a book, I climbed into Uncle Google’s lap and let him take me on a type/click journey. This is what I found.

“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple” is the first line of a poem, “Warning,” written in 1961 by 29-year-old Jenny Joseph from Birmingham, England. A 1996 BBC poll declared “Warning” to be the United Kingdom’s most popular post-war (that’s WWII, ladies) poem, beating out Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night.” Ms. Joseph produced a large body of work over her lifetime but this one poem has defined her and inspired thousands of women to wear purple in honor of their cronedom. Asked why she never wore her celebrated color, Ms. Joseph replied, “I can’t stand purple. It doesn’t suit me.”

The second line of the poem, “With a red hat which doesn’t go…” inspired the creation of the Red Hat Society by a California woman named Sue Ellen Cooper when she gave a friend a birthday gift of a vintage red fedora and a copy of “Warning.” The new birthday tradition spread, along with a penchant for purple outfits, red hats, and tea parties. The Society now boasts over 40,000 chapters in the United States and thirty other countries.

Watch Ms. Joseph and hear her delightful British accent as she reads her poem. Enjoy, ladies.

WARNING
Jenny Joseph

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 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 must 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 shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

readingpurpleYou can hear Jenny Joseph read the poem on Ann Winfred’s blog:

http://comingofagecroneicles.com/when-i-am-an-old-woman/

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Poetry and Poets Quotes

Poetry by Goethe with pic“If you cannot be a poet, be the poem.” David Carradine

“Painting is poetry which is seen and not heard & Poetry is a painting which is heard but not seen.” Leonardo Da Vinci

“Poetry is the art which is technically within the grasp of everyone: a piece of paper and a pencil and one is ready.” Eugenio Montale

“I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.” Dead Poets Society

Dead poest society standing on desks“Prose = words in their best order: Poetry = the best words in the best order.”

“A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses.” Jean Cocteau

“We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.” William Butler Yeats

“Dancing is the poetry of the foot.” John Dryden

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” Robert Frost

“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” Carl Sandburg

Basho Haiku

Basho HaikuMatsuo Munefusa (Basho), 1644 — 1694, became well known in the intellectual Edo part of  Japan, which is now modern Tokyo. He had a future in the military since he was born into a samurai family, but he preferred to live in poverty as a wanderer. At times he’d return to a hut made of plantain leaves, basho, which he took as his name. His haiku helped to transform the verse form from a social pastime into a Japanese poetry genre.  One of his familiar haiku is

 

 

an ancient pond

a frog jumps in

the splash of water

Generally, haiku uses the 5-7-5 form, meaning five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line. Some haiku ignores that pattern and the typical topic of nature, earth, the natural world.

One of my Basho favorites is:

lark on the moon, singing–

sweet song

of non-attachment

Punctuation is controversial. The form can use a capital for the first letter and a period at the end or it can be written with no capitals and no period. The latter makes the poem appear to float. The concept is that the image starts in the mind, and the hand moves over the paper before any writing appears as if the process is ongoing in space and time and the haiku is just a small part of a larger whole. With small letters and no full stop, the haiku imitates a timeless, spaceless poetic process that wouldn’t be as effective if capitals and periods were used.

Here is one of Basho’s that shows his preference for nature over humans:

all my friends
viewing the moon –
an ugly bunch

Another Baso with a different opinion than we would have:

sparrows in eves
mice in ceiling –
celestial music.

Here’s a haiku I wrote:

hello sweet kitty

you greet my return each day

smiling face I love

I’d like to read your haiku. You can write it in the comment section below.

Senryu, Similar to Haiku

poets cornerThe Shadow Poetry link http://www.shadowpoetry.com/resources/haiku/haiku.html

explains the differences between Haiku and Senryu.  Kathy Lippard Cobb wrote the information and included samples of each. She states that senryu deals with human nature, satire, humor, and political issues. Debates about what is or is not senryu is confusing. When poets submit a poem that could be haiku or senryu, they often let the editor decide which it is. The two forms are similar structurally but different in tone.

See Cobb’s article for more detail and examples.

 

 

 

 

Haiku Samples

Haiku sample traditional Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry. It is comprised of 3 phrases. Traditional haiku form is a total of 17 syllables with the first line having 5 syllables, the second line has 7 syllables, and the last line has 5. The one on the far left by Earle J. Stone follows the traditional pattern. Often, the third line is a surprise. It might be about something different from the first two lines, perhaps a new perspective.

Contemporary haiku in English often ignores the 5-syllable, 7-syllable, 5-syllable format. Haiku not traditional

Deserted beach
will it stay or go
the driftwood!

His short apology,
and how the chocolates after
cling and cling.

Sundial garden
father’s peach tree
growing in his ashes.

Free Haiku is available on https://www.haikucandy.com

Anthony Rutledge has authored thousands of Haiku and selected some to share online at the above site. He offers an unusual service for personal or commercial use. You can sign up to have a Haiku added at the end of your emails (you can cancel at any time).

If you’d like to share a haiku you’ve written, put it into the reply comment here. I’m interested in reading yours. I’ve learned to appreciate haiku more than I have before.

Winners in the Poetry Contest About Choices

Poetry contest winners with quillThe winners of my poetry contest about choices have been announced by my poet friends who agreed to be judges. Poems by the three award winners and the honorable mention poets will be published in my next anthology with the theme choices. The anthology will be published in late summer of  2015.

Hear the drum roll for:

First place: Regina Puckett “Their Pool of Pandemonium”
Second place: Tanda L. Clauson “If You Want to Exist Do Not Choose Left”
Third place: Kate Ann Scholz “About Choices”
Honorable Mention: Mona Dawson “By My Choice”
Honorable Mention: Elaine Webster “Whispers of the Lake”

I have put all the entries in the Contest Archived Page but I need to improve the formatting. Until I do, the poems continue to be on the Contest Page.

I will post a new contest in a couple of weeks. Congratulations to the winners.