Poetry from the Garden - Warning by Jenny Joseph part 2

07:44 Ramble / Discussion Oct 09, 2020 16 comments 334 282

Download (11 MB, MP3)

For the second episode of Poetry from the Garden, I chose another contemporary poet, the British poet Jenny Joseph. I misspoke in this audio, when I recorded this I didn't realize she had died in 2018.

Here's a video of the poet herself reading this poem in 2008

This is a delightful and poignant poem about getting older, and how we tend to wait for our old age to do the silly, fun, frivolous things we want to do, "to make up for the sobriety of (our) youth" (my favourite line from the poem)

The text of this poem (written 1961) can be found here

Other audios in series Poetry from the Garden


You must be logged in with a commenting account to post comments. Log in with a commenting account or register a commenting account if you don't have one. This is not the same as a Membership account.

  • MadWithLust on 2020-11-09 14:00:51 (UTC)

    What an interesting selection!

    I thought this was a fun and silly spin on a kind of "sober"/serious topic. Especially these days, there is always more and more pressure for "sobriety of youth", work,work,work, pay the bills, keep up with the Joneses (brandy/summer gloves/satin sandals, love the imagery!), repeat! This seems so remarkably mature and wise, to be able to recognize that there will never be time to just play, be silly, do all the things that you really want to do but can't because "adulting".

    For 1961, I think she was fairly young (her early 30's) and I'm hoping she got plenty of "practice" very early with her purple and red hats and swearing! :P

    • A Eve on 2020-11-26 21:22:06 (UTC)

      I hope she did too! xox

  • sociallistener on 2020-10-25 20:52:23 (UTC)

    I would love to hear your reading and your thoughts of/on "Please Call me By My True Names" by Thich Nhat Hanh.

    I break open each time I read this as I am reminded of who I really am.

    • A Eve on 2020-10-29 14:32:39 (UTC)

      That's a really interesting poem, I find it a bit too...I don't know, stark? It is interesting, the idea that many of us are the product of where and how we were raised, but I sort of take issue with the idea that we'd all be pirates if we were raised in a place where it was normal. So many of us go outside the norm, and choose to do what we know is right for us despite what those around us believe that I wonder if that's really true.

      Thanks for suggesting it!

      • sociallistener on 2020-10-29 21:39:44 (UTC)

        The poem is certainly very Zen. We all, or course, find our own path...light or dark (usually a bit of both). That fact that you have found your own path in a not always accepting world is wonderful.

        Speaking of Zen poetry.....

        Haiku can be fun

        But sometimes they make no sense


        Yeah, it's an acquired taste.

        Thank you for replying to me, and please be well.

        • A Eve on 2020-11-05 20:51:51 (UTC)

          haha I love your haiku 🤣

  • CharlieRomeoLima on 2020-10-23 16:35:15 (UTC)

    "Pick flowers in other peoples' gardens..." haha oh my god this brings back a memory of when I was six - I pulled a flower for my mom from someone's front yard afterschool after a classmate I was walking home with put me up to it. I was caught and the lady ran out her front door screaming at us like we were absconding with her dog. If only I had a time machine to make amends!

    I too think this poem resonates with a lot of us - I certainly feel a lot less peer pressure and need to socially conform now that I am approaching my fourth decade than I did as a teenager. I also find it a bit odd how we're expected to attend to the adulting and huge life decisions like career, buying a home and raising a family at an age when most of us are still figuring ourselves out.

    There's undeniable wisdom in embracing the silly frivolous things in youth too, rather than waiting for old age, because our tomorrows are never guaranteed.

    • A Eve on 2020-10-23 21:30:59 (UTC)

      I've often thought that about the educational choices we're expected to make when we're in our teens, sometimes earlier depending on how competitive our chosen field is. Who honestly knows they want to be a doctor for the rest of their life when they're fifteen?

      I love this poem because it has such a childlike 'who gives a damn, enjoy life' mentality to it

  • sociallistener on 2020-10-22 20:29:41 (UTC) (edited)

    I much prefer the bittersweet whimsy of Jenny Joseph to the angst of those who "rage against the dying of the light" (sorry, Dylan).

    As the Pennsylvania Dutch have wisely observed...we grow too soon old and too late smart.

    • A Eve on 2020-10-23 21:31:43 (UTC)

      that's a very wise observation, as I'm discovering daily :P

      And I agree, that's a great way to describe the tone of those two poems

  • Benny on 2020-10-15 06:20:48 (UTC)

    A poem for EVE...

    E is for Exemplary , a role model.

    V is for Valiant , possessing bravery.

    E is for Enriching , you make others lives more meaningful. 🙏

    • A Eve on 2020-10-16 15:01:51 (UTC)

      Aww, thank you Benny! ❤️

  • Hawkins on 2020-10-10 02:18:17 (UTC)

    Hey Eve! Wonderful to see this series back, and a wonderful reading of it! I love hearing interesting poems and I appreciate your taste for finding good ones. I often find myself disheartened with a lot of poetry on account of it's being extremely....self involved if that makes sense. But the ones you've selected are great!

    It's a fascinating thought, being too mature in your youth and trying to make up for it by being young when you are old. It makes you think about all the things you wish you could do. I don't know if I much care for the purple shirt red hat combo, but I could stand to dance in the rain a little more.

    • A Eve on 2020-10-10 20:21:49 (UTC)

      Thank you so much, I'm so glad you're enjoying these!

      And I agree about the purple and the red (although I believe there's a whole society of ladies who gather together once a year in purple dresses and red hats in honour of this poem).

      • Hawkins on 2020-10-12 00:51:44 (UTC)

        Oh my gosh there really is! Hahahaha! Oh that's amazing! The "Red Hat Society" and they have their own wikipedia page and official website and everything! Local chapters, big get togethers, it's like some amazing Dr. Seuss version of a sorority for old ladies! I love it.

        • A Eve on 2020-10-12 11:45:15 (UTC)

          Yes, imagine how great it feels to have a whole society form up based on one of your poems!

          Here's the wikipedia page on them - Red Hat Society