Warning (Hardback)

When I am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple

Jenny Joseph

Twice-voted poem of the year, Warning is an uplifting poem about growing older.

Voted Britain's favourite poem, 'Warning', written in 1961, is known and loved the world over for its message of old age as a time for indulgence and fun.

In the poem's respectable middle-aged woman, as she imagines herself in old age as a cheeky rebel with outrageous clothes and dotty behaviour, poet Jenny Joseph has created a character whose thoughts have been quoted at conferences and funerals, used to cheer up sick friends, remembered with pleasure by children and adults alike. Found in schoolbooks from Alaska to Singapore, the poem has been stitched, stamped, quilted, set to music, printed on cards, written on cakes and made into films.

Here 'Warning: When I am an old woman I shall wear purple' appears as a beautifully illustrated gift book, the perfect gift for a friend or relative who wants to grow older with joy.

Publication date:


ISBN: 9780285634114

Imprint: Souvenir Press

Subject: Humour & Gift, Reference

Reviews for Warning

'A poem that was to inspire two generations of women to contemplate behaving badly.'

 Mail on Sunday

'The most popular poem in Britain.'


'Continues to inspire with its humour... speaks to the devil in us all... Utterly charming and uplifting.'

 Good Book Guide

Jenny Joseph

Jenny Joseph

Jenny Joseph was first published in the 1950s by John Lehmann. Her first published collection, The Unlooked-for Season, won her a Cholmondeley Award and her prose and verse narrative, Persephone, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. In 1995 she was awarded a Society of Authors Travelling Scholarship. In 2006 her poem 'Warning' was voted Britain's favourite modern poem. She had three grown-up children and lived in Gloucestershire. Jenny Joseph died in 2018, aged 85.