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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.
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?”.
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.