The word “chivvy” means to tell someone do something repeatedly. In this poem, a child describes his hate for the grown-ups (elders) because they keep throwing advices to the children. This behaviour of elders irritates the children. The poem is written in a single long stanza. However I have divided it into two parts for better understanding.



Part 1

Grown-ups say things like:
Speak up
Don’t talk with your mouth full
Don’t stare
Don’t point
Don’t pick your nose
Sit up
Say please
Less noise
Shut the door behind you
Don’t drag your feet
Haven’t you got a hankie?

The child says that grown-ups (elders) keep saying things like “speak up”, “don’t talk while you are eating”, “don’t stare at others”, “don’t point fingers at others”, “don’t put your finger in nose”, “sit”, “talk”, “don’t make nouse”, “shut the door”, “don’t drag your feet”, “why don’t you have your hankie?”.

Part 2

Take your hands out of
your pockets
Pull your socks up
Stand up straight
Say thank you
Don’t interrupt
No one thinks you’re funny
Take your elbows off the table
Can’t you make your own
mind up about anything?

Elders further say, “take your hands out of your pockets”, “pull your socks up”, “stand up straight”, “say, thank you”, “don’t interrupt”, “no one thinks you are funny”, “take your elbows off the table” and so on.

The child asks them rhetorically, can’t they do these things by themselves and leave them (children) alone and don’t chivvy all the time.

Further Reading

  1. Quiz on Chivvy Poem
  2. Questions-Answers of Chivvy