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

  • (2/21/2018 8:41:00 AM)


    The poem's quite nice. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (2/19/2018 12:33:00 AM)


    It is fabulous; the evils of television are very beautifully and poetically described. Nice rhyming stanzas; there is good rhythm too - musical. television is a villain, but it has come to stay and become part and parcel of our life. reading books is no longer fashion! It is too sad! (Report) Reply

  • (2/16/2018 12:12:00 AM)


    Wonderful one!It profoundly reveal the reality in a creative way. (Report) Reply

  • (2/12/2018 3:21:00 AM)


    GREAT POEM
    AS


    The poem tells how the present generation of youngsters more particularly the children have lost the habit of reading books because of TV. The reading habit which opens up tremendous opportunities of learning and proves to be an unlimited source of joy and pleasure is almost non existent among the young and made them imbecile and walking zombies. The parents and educationists will have to find ways to put the children on the right track.
    (Report) Reply

  • (2/11/2018 2:15:00 AM)


    Please explain in simple language (Report) Reply

  • (2/10/2018 12:44:00 PM)


    WE SUPPORT CHILD MOLESTERS LIKE THIS (Report) Reply

  • Mary Skarpathiotaki (2/3/2018 4:28:00 PM)


    10++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ (Report) Reply

  • (2/2/2018 8:24:00 AM)


    Please provide in simple language (Report) Reply

  • (1/28/2018 10:22:00 AM)


    When was it written? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? (Report) Reply

  • (1/28/2018 10:22:00 AM)


    When was it written? ? ? ? (Report) Reply

  • (1/22/2018 1:27:00 AM)

    Report mid=5687023
    hey guys this is a kind comment for all of you suicidal people out there.
    Just get it over with, have you ever thought your a waist of air? well you are. Just slit your neck and youll be glad
    Already Reported Reply

    (1/22/2018 1:31:00 AM)

    yep ima do it right now, thanks for the advice

    (1/22/2018 1:30:00 AM)

    your sooooo right

  • Michelle Robertson (1/7/2018 6:33:00 PM)


    I AGREE! All I do is get my children to READ and READ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Thank you! (Report) Reply

  • (1/2/2018 3:52:00 AM)


    Excellent poem; I feel there is slight exaggeration, but that really does make the poem sound as good as it is. (Report) Reply

  • Frank Adie (12/20/2017 11:30:00 PM)


    Wonderful! Well crafted, Exceptionally poetic. (Report) Reply

  • (12/20/2017 1:57:00 PM)


    The poem tells how the present generation of youngsters more particularly the children have lost the habit of reading books because of TV. The reading habit which opens up tremendous opportunities of learning and proves to be an unlimited source of joy and pleasure is almost non existent among the young and made them imbecile and walking zombies. The parents and educationists will have to find ways to put the children on the right track. (Report) Reply

  • (12/20/2017 6:12:00 AM)


    Poem television (Report) Reply

  • (12/19/2017 12:03:00 PM)


    Awesome. (Report) Reply

  • Abhimanyu Kumar.s (12/3/2017 12:02:00 AM)


    Very true, we have lost family watching the drama one. (Report) Reply

  • Lodigiana Poetess (12/1/2017 2:20:00 AM)


    Roald Dahl...what a wonderfully lucid writer he was..one was never in any doubt exactly about what he had written and his attitude! ! We could almost write exactly the same today but substituting Mobile phones for TV! Love this! (Report) Reply

  • (11/28/2017 1:44:00 PM)


    interesting story i really enjoyed it! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! (Report) Reply

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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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