A Child's Guide to Etiquette
Never put your personal spoon in the common jelly bowl.
Spread your napkin upon your lap. Do not grasp.
Eat what meat your fork can get to; the rest of the lobster must be given
up for lost.
A girl must lay her silver down while still a trifle hungry.
She must not eat unchaperoned.
A boy does not take a girl’s arm on the street. The street is no place for
He must not allow his mother to lug the coal up or sift the ashes.
If he does, he is a cad. A boy is shiftless, a vulgar bounder. He is not
He wears a dark suit, but not in a theater box. In a box a tuxedo is worn.
In a box a boy keeps his thoughts to himself.
A girl keeps her hat on until she is seated. The theater itself wears no hat.
Snow is a hat worn by mountains, the tallest of which do not remove the
hat in summer.
Sunlight settles like a shawl upon the hills and dewy berry fields.
The sun is not a wag or hail-fellow-well-met. It does not loaf or shirk.
It keeps its face funeral-ready, as you should.
Away you go in the car. Father and Mother. Puff and Baby Sally.
Away you go into the country. Spot and Jane.
Jane is a proper girl. She avoids provincial phrases and slang, as yep and
She says not yes but yes, Mother, and arranges rosettes in the icing.
She wears a high-collared simple dress and tarries amid the lilac, on her
head a crown of stars.
She may stop dancing when she wishes. A boy must dance until the music
He must scold his bold friend.
A boy is clothed in a purple cloak, is brought up on charges, agrees to
them with the air of one much pleased. He raises his hat to his
A girl, in the presence of her father, removes her breasts.
She removes the washbowl’s plug so the waste water drains completely.
A boy need not detach his hands, but he must not thrust them into his
A clothes brush must be packed for the train, and a plain dressing gown.
Away you go. You are on a train. You are speaking with courtesy and
reserve in the dining car.
You are slipping off your shoes. You are leaving them for the porter.
The porter will pocket his tip discreetly.
The porter will polish your shoes in the night.
Chris Forhan's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (A Child's Guide to Etiquette by Chris Forhan )
William Carlos Williams
(17 September 1883 – 4 March 1963)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(August 19, 1902 – May 19, 1971)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
- Christina Georgina Rossetti
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(24 January 1572 - 31 March 1631)
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- No Man Is An Island, John Donne
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
- I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love .., Pablo Neruda
- A Child's Christmas in Wales, Dylan Thomas
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
Poem of the Day
- remplaçable, Lubinda Lubinda
- Human Nature, Merton Lee
- Those Moments Of Weakness لحظات الضعف هذه, MOHAMMAD SKATI
- Money (Cedi), Ghana Green Poetry Foundation
- Off the Rez, Smoky Hoss
- As an emigrant كمهاجر, MOHAMMAD SKATI
- Two Little Boats, Ghana Green Poetry Foundation
- The Golden Swan, Ghana Green Poetry Foundation
- As a passer-bye, MOHAMMAD SKATI
- Love is Blue, Ghana Green Poetry Foundation