Works in the Herald 1937

Carloads of "bright young things in bathing costumes, who proceed with no other object but self-enjoyment" are declared, in the official report, to be among the worst offenders against the Traffic Code, the provisions of which are in future to be rigorously enforced.

Bright young thing: Thou on the beaches
   Life is gay and pleasure laden
All in vain the law beseeches
   Courtesy from man and maiden
When a car, adorned with beauty
   Unadorned, swings down the road,
There's a certain civic duty,
   There's a cop, and there's a code,
There's Dame Caution -- stuffy ogress --
Who deplores your carefree progress.

Bright young thing, who, with one finger
   Nonchalantly on the steering,
(Ever indisposed to linger)
   Down the beach road goes careering --
Youth's high claims need no endorsement,
   Ever at convention scoffing;
But the fiends of law-enforcement
   Lurk obscurely in the offing,
Prone to pounce on any stir made
Even by a scorching mermaid.

Bright young thing: Life can be brighter
   When devoid of traffic danger.
E'en this poor pedestrian blighter,
   E'en that slow and aged stranger
Has some right to go on living,
   On this earth superfluous lagging.
But not the Law, so far forgiving,
   Tires of its paternal nagging,
Ill-content to look askance
On sun-tanned insouciance.

Bright young thing upon the beaches,
   Youth is urgent, youth is eager.
But no more the Law beseeches
   With its admonitions meagre
Your observance of its ruling,
   Your respect for cop, and Code,
But, if you must still go fooling,
   "Stepping on it" up the road,
At its end, for flapper, shiek,
Lurks, relentlessly, The Beak.

Herald, 13 March 1937, p6
Random Verse edited by Margaret Herron, 1952

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003-11