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Every Poet Needs a Purple Beret

maraberet3.jpg “There was an old story that when a revolution occurred in some ancient land the new ruler was asked, “What’s the first thing to do?” and the new ruler answered “Kill the poets.” ~ Bill Moyer

I wanted to wear my new purple beret to Sunday’s Spoken Word event, where I was scheduled to do a reading. I got the beret for my birthday from my sister, Tricia, and thought it would be a good prop for a poet.

Why is it poets are associated with berets? I don’t know, especially considering that the wikipedia on berets only covers the history of military ones. Maybe poets are a militant sort of group, with their words being like weapons when necessary. If they’re any good as a poet, I think they should be counted on to speak truth to power.
I was hoping the purple beret would calm my nerves when it was my turn to read on stage. Maybe wearing it would divert some attention away from me and onto my hat! But, being made of wool, it was too hot to wear on this particular warm May evening.

At intermission time the hat got passed around, not to put money in to support our starving writers, but so that we could try it on and feel...well, more poetic.poetberet.jpg

My friend, Mara (in the first photo), looks like the epitome of the poet that she is. I think she should use this photo for her own blog or webpage. Even Kyla, her young daughter, read up at the mic, and so she got to try on the hat. Joe and I were finally able to relax because my part of the reading was done.

Who will be next to try on the purple beret? To be continued…


Perhaps you should start a Purple Beret Society, similar to the Red Hat stuff that old ladies do.

Mara always looks like she is having fun! You look lovely in your beret. Next time make them put money in there....call it 'Colleen's garden fund.'

I also think of French painters!

You look HOT in that beret, girlfriend!



I had to laugh at the Red Hat Lady comment.
Have you read this poem:
Warning - When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple
Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people's gardens
and learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.

We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Hi Wren, It was hot! and the lighting was dim!

SRP, I was actually trying to find that poem and thought I might clip a line or two. I used to own the book it was in but couldn't find it. So thanks! It's always been a favorite of mine.

lol I sit just like Mara in chairs...when I'm in the mood to be comfy!

I usually think of beatnik poets or revolutionaries when I see berets. I like the way the purple lamp shade coordinates with the beret in the first photo. You all appear to be a pretty laid back group!

Poets are associated with berets because of the Beat Generation, I think. There were a few black berets floating around back then. Your purple one is cool!

I thought it was, "kill all the lawyers," but maybe that would be too revolutionary for the revolution.

Nice hat--but purple isn't my color. Nor do I own any berets, but I do have a Mao hat

Coll, You know I already tried it on just to see how it looked. I wonder if maybe Matthew snuck it on for awhile, before he wrote that awesome blue paintrbush poem? So happy that the hat I gave you has become so famous! xo

I love purple anything.

Looks like that purple lamp is attracted to the beret, too! I do believe poetry is a revolutionary act. And purple is a royal color (quite revolutionary when worn by a poet!). Marvelous hat and pictures.

I'm doing a week about color at my blog and although I haven't focused on Purple/violet just yet, it is (as I'm sure you know) the highest vibration of light assoiated with the pituitary gland and relating to things of the soul, mysticism, spirtual intuition, and idealism - all things connected to a poet.
Having said that; I think the purple beret is perfect!

I love the idea of the Beret being passed around and inspiration coming to the one who wears it. Perhaps you all should have a Beret party where that hat goes from one person to another and each person has to make something up right on the spot..and of course, Pictures will be taken and then Posted!
You look fabulous in your beautiful Purole Beret Colleen.

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