I noticed a charming elderly lady today at tea in Waitrose, dressed in a stylish bright purple shawlcoat which looked lovely against her white hair, unchanged since her childhood nursery days. She was asking keen questions, being witty. She had not withdrawn from life, but she was above it, in some way. She was amused by it, not frightened of it, living on a plane of vitality apart from the intense "struggle of life" that younger people are tied up in.
So I wrote this poem about her. My poem about her is also a tribute to this poem.
Ladies of Eighty
Ladies of eighty should dress 'strong'
Wear a hat with feather, sing a song!
Announce there is no joy or fun,
In sober pastels and ghastly 'dun'.
Ladies of eighty should dress right
Comb pure white hair - emanate Light.
Hair still parted for the Thirties - neat,
Just as when they skipped in a pre-war street.
Ladies in purple should twinkle in their eye,
Ask interested questions, laugh at every lie!
Prove inner joy conquers every test:
All Life's effort to upset its best.
Ladies in purple should laugh a lot!
Giggle at many things - funny or not.
Not look bothered by crass vulgarity,
Live for gardening, cake - and gaiety!
Alison Bailey Castellina