Alan Girling says never offer your seat to an old woman…

Purple and Teal

Never offer your seat
to an old woman
until you’ve inspected
her wolf-
grey hair
for splashes of purple in front,
or streaks of teal at back,
the existence of which should
alert you to the danger
of assuming too much
about aging—
gratitude leavened
with vernal wrath—
and further suggest a life
in which fresh fire
pierces the natural,
and loss finds its seat
in the rear: then years too
will recede, and grey,
purple and teal
dance down
        aisles of

* Alan Girling
used to write fiction but these days it's mainly poetry. He suspects
his old stories were really poems in disguise. Examples of both can be
found in Blue Skies, Hobart, The
MacGuffin, Smokelong, Six Sentences, Ken*again
, and Ink Sweat & Tears among others.


  1. Anonymous

    Mighty fine poem! True, too. I liked the stories as well, though. Who knows what you'll do next? It will be good. Carter

  2. Anonymous

    An interesting poem, I like the idea of age as not predictable. I enjoyed this Alan. ~Pat J

  3. Anonymous

    Yes, we need to stop assuming and take the time to look a little closer. That little old lady on the bus may be a triathlete. Being a 'little old lady' myself I sort of enjoy hiding the purple and teal and then springing it on people. Enjoyed this poem. Good idea well crafted.
    Alice Folkart – from IWW

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