In Competition No. 2394 you were invited to supply a rhymed poem offering four parental vetoes on children’s behaviour, followed by four juvenile vetoes on parental behaviour. Exhausted and sleepless, back two days late due to botched air travel, I shall cut the cackle. The prizewinners, printed below, get £20 each, except W.J. Webster, who takes £30. Bon voyage, this summer!
Don’t spend a lifetime watching screens —There is another world outside.And music’s best not amplifiedUntil you can’t hear what it means.Self-cleaning rooms aren’t Nature’s trick,So don’t leave litter to decay.And ‘like’ is a word you shouldn’t sayWhen it’s just like ‘you know’ a tic.Don’t think you get away with jeans —If looks could kill, they’re suicide.And if you still have any pride,Don’t ever dance alongside teens.A movie isn’t called a ‘flick’ —Those words you use have had their day.And just accept you’re going grey:You know that hair that’s dyed looks sick.W.J. Webster
The bathroom is for all. Thou shalt not staySelf-titivating there for half the day. Thou shalt not, either, play thy ghastly popAs loud as a bombardment and non-stop.At breakfast-time thou shalt not sit there muteOr only speak to stir up a dispute,Nor shalt thou ever, although short of cash, In search of ganja raid thy parents’ stash.Thanks for the no-nos. Here are some for you:Don’t stereotype the young the way you do.Don’t diss the music you don’t understand;We don’t diss Lennon, Dylan or The Band.Don’t pry, don’t spy, don’t lecture and don’t nag.A sanctimonious parent is a drag.But most of all — this is the golden rule —Don’t always be so desperate to seem cool.Basil Ransome-Davies
Your pimpmobile must not block in our SaabTill you get up and clamour for bicarb;You can’t use this address when making bets,And squash our credit rating with your debts;Don’t dump old sofas on us for repairs,(Or desks, or orthopaedic backless chairs);Don’t tax your dad for funds when you are low:Supposedly, you left home months ago.Don’t rabbit on about my health: how muchI drink, my smoker’s cough, beer gut, and such;Don’t ridicule each stress-avoidance scheme:‘Just buckling down’ would sap my self-esteem;Who cares about the Sixties any more?Don’t reminisce: it makes you such a bore;Don’t make me feel that I’m 13 againIf you want me to come back now and then.Anne Du Croz
Don’t abuse the language, neverAnswer questions with ‘whatever’.Scum around the shower’s taboo,Scattered towels and clothing — youCan’t treat home as a hotel!After 10, don’t ring the bellAnd next time you lose your keyYou’ll be charged a hefty fee.Dress your age, no daft trend-setting;Know our friends, don’t go forgettingWho they are, and no name-botching.Monitoring telly-watchingCounts as human rights’ infringement — Cut it out. Avoid estrangement,Don’t be prejudiced and stroppy,Or you’ll find we’re quick to copy.Alanna Blake
You’re almost 11 and nearly a man,It’s time you accepted some rules if you can.Don’t sulk after football whenever you lose.Don’t trample indoors before wiping your shoes.Don’t act like a saint when your father’s aboutAnd behave like the devil as soon as he’s out.Don’t mumble ‘I promise’ and then disobey.Agree to the rules and accept what I say.Agreed, but on spotting a few grubby streaksDon’t spit on your hanky and scour my cheeks,Don’t ruin my morning outside the school gatesBy making me kiss you in front of my mates,Don’t greet me by saying, as soon as I’m home,‘Your shirt’s hanging out and your hair needs a comb,’Don’t tell me I’m grounded for pulling a face.I’m almost 11, so give me some space!Alan Millard
Please don’t choose Granny’s visitTo sneak boyfriends into bed.Quit bare midriff and belly studs.Wear a nice frock instead!Going shopping with my credit cardIs taking things too far!And don’t leave the tank emptyNext time you use the car!Do you always have to ask meWhat I did at school all day?Please, when I bring my boyfriendPut the Mickey rug away.Don’t show him baby picturesOf me starkers, cute and brown.And, Dad, please don’t chat up my friendsAnd eye them up and down!Shirley Curran
Do not, in any circumstance,Subject us to a rapper’s rants;Do not come home with local thugsWho sell you non-prescription drugs;For goodness’ sake, do not play ballIn bedroom, kitchen, lounge or hall;And do not think that there are laughsIn all our family photographs.Then do not, for they are the pits,Sing medleys of the Beatles’ hits;Do not indulge in folderolWhen you’ve been drinking alcohol;Do not hurl curses to the breezeWhen you have lost your set of keys;And please don’t ask us where we hangOr chill: please stick to adult slang.Bill Greenwell
No. 2397: Mal voyageYou are invited to supply an acrostic poem, the first letter of each line to spell out travel troubles. Entries to ‘Competition No. 2397’ by 16 June.