Roald Dahl

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

Television - 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?
IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK -- HE ONLY SEES!
'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 Television by Roald Dahl

  • Shaun CronickShaun Cronick (2/9/2020 4:57:00 PM)

    Timeless so timeless! Roald sir, you are a true master of the craft and
    entertain so many world-wide with your great imagination.
    I thank you so much.
    You are Heaven's gain.
    (Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • hee hee (1/22/2020 6:36:00 PM)

    yay I like this poem even thou I don't really like the statement of television of Roald Dahl. (Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Lawanda Spinner (1/5/2020 6:43:00 AM)

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    Already ReportedReply

    1 person liked.
    12 person did not like.
  • Desiraju Surya Narayana (1/3/2020 7:38:00 PM)

    DEEP ANALYSIS OF WHAT IS LIFE OF ILLUSION (Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • pewdiepie (12/18/2019 9:44:00 AM)

    meme review meme review meme review meme review (Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • waaat (12/18/2019 9:43:00 AM)

    roald Dahl. Rhonald Dahl? (Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • I Love Pizza (12/12/2019 4:58:00 AM)

    ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok (Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Panagiota Romios (12/7/2019 1:48:00 PM)

    Take a look at the elephant adults in tight jeans. Kids here play sports, go to the gym, work out. TV, they hate.
    Adults are stuck like flies to devices. Kids live. TV is out.
    Panagiota romios
    reas
    (Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • mike teavee (11/28/2019 1:29:00 PM)

    ok boomer, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , (Report)Reply

    11 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Catharina (11/26/2019 11:05:00 PM)

    Well, this is a little interesting as Mr Dahl himself wrote for television, hosted television shows, and even partook in commercials for television... (Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Zebyyyy (11/26/2019 6:03:00 AM)

    Kos omokooooooooooo0oooooooooooooo (Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • Konab GhummanKonab Ghumman (11/25/2019 8:57:00 AM)

    it's cool......................... (Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • hitansh (11/7/2019 5:06:00 AM)

    liked very much to read. Nice poem. but i miss the great, Roald Dahl (Report)Reply

    6 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • HoneyBanana (10/24/2019 11:53:00 PM)

    I love to read so much, my mom literally has to force me to stop reading, but after that, I go watch TV :) (Report)Reply

    11 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • daddy (10/16/2019 3:16:00 PM)

    u I gave u the N word pass Already ReportedReply

    12 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • poo poo (10/14/2019 1:40:00 PM)

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    8 person liked.
    19 person did not like.
  • poo poo (10/14/2019 1:39:00 PM)

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    8 person liked.
    19 person did not like.
  • Lily Turner (10/13/2019 4:26:00 AM)

    I watch TV and read books! 🤔 Already ReportedReply

    20 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Bert R. Jaeger (10/6/2019 4:39:00 AM)

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    Already ReportedReply

    5 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • poet kid man (9/30/2019 2:38:00 PM)

    I think this poem is cool because it talks about how parents think kids watch to muck T.V. but really they watch it more than us. (Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    8 person did not like.
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Read poems about / on: television, children, purple, house, child, joy, fear, lost



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Tuesday, January 3, 2012


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