Poetry Response Paper: Warning

March 30, 2008
By Sara Collins, Johns Creek, GA

Jenny Joseph explores the sometimes overlooked benefits of growing older in her poem “Warning.” Many people assume that with age comes unwanted change. Many associate growing older with wrinkles, bad eyes, and a dwindling memory. However, Joseph reminds readers that age often brings a pardon for many normally unacceptable actions.

At a young age, many people tend to count calories obsessively and girls tend to eat only “cute” foods. People partake in various ridiculous diets and weigh themselves religiously. However, according to Joseph, with age comes a carefree attitude. “ You can…grow more fat and eat three pounds of sausages at a god or only bread and pickle for a week,” claims the author. Old age becomes more and more appealing as she appeals to the people pleasers. “You can wear terrible shirts...” even though “now we must have clothes that keep us dry.” Who cares what people think that that point; you have earned your right to look ridiculous.

Adults are always expected to “…set a good example for the children” by conducting themselves in a proper and acceptable manner. However, no one bats an eye at an elderly person who accidentally lets an inappropriate word slip. Joseph celebrates the freedom that is to come with age. No more societal expectations and requirements; only herself and her will.

Joseph looks forward to being obnoxious without feeling the repercussions of her actions. She relishes in the idea of being able to “…gobble up samples in shops…run [her] stick along the public railings…and pick the flowers in other people’s gardens.” Her life will finally be in her own hands and she will be able to “...make up for the sobriety of [her] youth.” In her eyes, old age is not the end of her life, in fact, it is only the beginning.

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