Manners

For a Child of 1918

My grandfather said to me
as we sat on the wagon seat,
"Be sure to remember to alwaysobj302geo281pg30p7.jpg
speak to everyone you meet."

We met a stranger on foot.
My grandfather's whip tapped his hat.
"Good day, sir. Good day. A fine day."
And I said it and bowed where I sat.

Then we overtook a boy we knew
with his big pet crow on his shoulder.
"Always offer everyone a ride;
don't forget that when you get older,"

my grandfather said. So Willy
climbed up with us, but the crow
gave a "Caw!" and flew off. I was worried.
How would he know where to go?

But he flew a little way at a time
from fence post to fence post, ahead;
and when Willy whistled he answered.
"A fine bird," my grandfather said,

"and he's well brought up. See, he answersgrandparent.jpg
nicely when he's spoken to.
Man or beast, that's good manners.
Be sure that you both always do."

When automobiles went by,
the dust hid the people's faces,
but we shouted "Good day! Good day!
Fine day!" at the top of our voices.

When we came to Hustler Hill,
he said that the mare was tired,
so we all got down and walked,
as our good manners required


We all learn our manners and what is expected of us from our elders when we are young children. I learned from my grandmother never to address an elder by their first name unless given permission to do so. I learned from my grandfather to always be polite and to say my prayers every night. I learned to keep my elbows off the table and not to sing during dinner. That is what this poem is about, learning what is expected of us from our parents and grandparents. Another simple poem full of imagery, the wagon rolling slowly along, the people they pass as they call hello. I enjoyed this one because it brought back the memories of my grandparents passing on their wisdom to me.