A Few Rules for Beginners

By Katherine Mansfield 1888–1923 Katherine Mansfield
Babies must not eat the coal
And they must not make grimaces,
Nor in party dresses roll
And must never black their faces.

They must learn that pointing’s rude,
They must sit quite still at table,
And must always eat the food
Put before them—if they’re able.

If they fall, they must not cry,
Though it’s known how painful this is;
No—there’s always Mother by
Who will comfort them with kisses.

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Poet Katherine Mansfield 1888–1923

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Living, Infancy

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Biography

Even before she died at the age of thirty-four Katherine Mansfield had achieved a reputation as one of the most talented writers of the modern short story in English. From 1910 publications in periodicals like the New Age through the five volumes of stories published before her death, Mansfield was recognized as innovative, accessible, and psychologically acute, one of the pioneers of the avant-garde in the creation of the short . . .

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Poems by Katherine Mansfield

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Infancy

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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