Roald Dahl

(13 September 1916 – 23 November 1990 / Cardiff / Wales)

"Mike Teavee..." - Poem by Roald Dahl

The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set --
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we've been,
We've watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone's place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotised by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don't climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink --
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say,
'But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!'
We'll answer this by asking you,
'What used the darling ones to do?
'How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?'
Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
THEY ... USED ... TO ... READ! They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching 'round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it's Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There's Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They'll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start -- oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

Comments about "Mike Teavee..." by Roald Dahl

  • (11/6/2019 5:47:00 PM)

    I once jumped off a bridge into the water after reading this poem (Report)Reply

    (11/6/2019 5:48:00 PM)

    Ur weird agree with me

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Adeeb Alfateh (7/22/2019 1:31:00 AM)

    What used the darling ones to do?
    'How used they keep themselves contented
    Before this monster was invented? '
    Have you forgotten? Don't you know?

    wonderful 10++++++++++++++? ? ?

    1 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • This Is Good Poetry (4/30/2019 7:33:00 AM)

    I accedentially glued my hands to a book once and my parents literally yell at me for reading too much. (Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • (10/24/2018 2:35:00 PM)

    this and about 5-6 others are charile and the choclete factory lol yassss (Report)Reply

    8 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • (10/5/2018 8:27:00 AM)

    Dis Pwoem Is Wery Gut (Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • (6/4/2018 12:21:00 PM)

    amazing and fantastic that is all i can describe about it (Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • (4/5/2018 6:47:00 PM)

    In these days of social networking, Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, this poem, written over half a century ago, proved to be extremely prophetic. (Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • (2/19/2018 4:41:00 PM)

    I am the same with Ciara (Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • (2/11/2018 5:38:00 PM)

    but this is not how I feel about the TV...NO WAY

    8 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • (2/8/2018 3:41:00 AM)

    hElLo To pEoPPLE using this sTImUlOUS iNN tHE fUtuirE.iTR IS rEALLy COOL.thIS PoEm IS OK ASwElL (Report)Reply

    (4/5/2018 6:48:00 AM)

    Using this for my gcse devisimng stimulus BOYYYSSS

    5 person liked.
    11 person did not like.
  • (2/5/2018 1:52:00 PM)

    I love this. (This is in his book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.) (Report)Reply

    (3/5/2018 12:30:00 PM)

    I am of fenced

    3 person liked.
    10 person did not like.
  • (2/19/2016 5:28:00 AM)

    his poems are truly heavenly. they are epic fun hilarouis in a way that no one will uderstand, he is just so amazing, i wish i could write like him. (Report)Reply

    26 person liked.
    12 person did not like.
  • (2/19/2016 5:24:00 AM)

    this is truly the best thing ive read so far, i wish i had as much talent as he did (Report)Reply

    16 person liked.
    13 person did not like.
  • (9/17/2015 9:39:00 PM)

    ..true reading is a wonderful pleasure ★ (Report)Reply

    23 person liked.
    13 person did not like.
  • (7/14/2015 4:40:00 PM)

    What a great verse and sooo funny! (Report)Reply

    24 person liked.
    11 person did not like.
  • Brian Jani (5/19/2014 10:21:00 AM)

    Well done road keep it up (Report)Reply

    34 person liked.
    19 person did not like.
  • Brian Jani (4/28/2014 3:42:00 AM)

    You surely know how to wrote, I like each and every poem of yours (Report)Reply

    39 person liked.
    14 person did not like.
  • Amy Willows (9/15/2013 8:33:00 AM)

    I just love it he is right i just like tv 50 percent (Report)Reply

    40 person liked.
    21 person did not like.
  • (10/17/2012 10:16:00 AM)

    This is so amazingly true,
    For kids with nothing else to do.

    60 person liked.
    20 person did not like.
  • (5/25/2012 6:06:00 PM)

    I love Roald Dahl's books and his poems are just fabulous! I am quite familiar with most of them because they are in his books. (The Oompa Loompa's sing them in Charlie and the Chocolate factory.) I love Roald Dahl's books! (Report)Reply

    54 person liked.
    34 person did not like.
Read all 40 comments »

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If You Forget Me

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Read poems about / on: television, children, purple, house, child, joy, fear, lost

Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004

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