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?
'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

  • (9/15/2019 3:50:00 AM)

    I don't understand this poem! (Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (9/11/2019 12:45:00 PM)

    My ­n­e­i­g­h­b­or's ­m­ot­h­er ­m­A­k­es $64 ­h­our­ly ­o­n t­h­e ­l­A­pt­o­p. S­h­e ­h­As ­b­e­e­n ­out ­o­f w­or­k ­f­or ­f­iv­e ­m­o­nt­hs ­but ­l­Ast ­m­o­nt­h ­h­er ­p­Ay­m­e­nt w­As $15080 just w­or­k­i­n­g ­o­n t­h­e l­A­pt­o­p ­f­or ­A ­f­ew ­h­ours. ­g­o t­o t­h­is w­e­b s­it­e ­A­n­d r­e­A­d ­m­or­e ­g­o t­o t­h­is s­it­e ­h­o­m­e t­A­b ­f­or ­m­or­e ­d­et­A­i­l. HERE► ★★★COPY THIS SITE★★★ (Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • (8/25/2019 7:11:00 PM)

    Trashy uhfufhccjfhudhfhfjdjj

    1 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • (8/25/2019 4:12:00 AM)

    This is the poem that every children and parent should know and learn. (Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • (8/20/2019 9:26:00 AM)

    this is the best poem that every children needs to read (Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • (8/8/2019 7:29:00 AM)

    Great poem...really hits the nail on the head to coin a phrase! Alas things have now gotten much worse as today's children are now distracted by Ipads and smart phones...the noble art of conversation may become a pipe dream if communication skills continue to decline. As an educator I know that very few children enjoy reading books and would rather play computer games. Perhaps there will be a significant cultural change, but it will take considerable time if you ask me. (Report)Reply

    6 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • (8/4/2019 5:22:00 PM)

    This poem is super . top tucker. (Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • (7/31/2019 3:10:00 PM)

    The oldest surviving speculative fiction poem is the Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor, [9] written in Hieratic and ascribed a date around 2500 B.C.E. Other sources ascribe the earliest written poetry to the Epic of Gilgamesh written in cuneiform; however, it is most likely that The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor predates Gilgamesh by half a millennium. T=> > > http: // ⓒ (Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • (7/25/2019 9:55:00 AM)

    Looking for someone around 20 to 55. Just looking to laugh, cuddle and, however you want it. Nice single or married does not matter. Send me a message - - - http: // (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    10 person did not like.
  • (7/1/2019 10:41:00 AM)

    i earn $400 hourly on the internet. She has been with out artwork for five months however final month her charge emerge as $12747 really on foot on the internet for some hours. s tudy greater on this net internet Already ReportedReply

    1 person liked.
    10 person did not like.
  • Spock The Vegan (6/28/2019 3:19:00 PM)

    This is a really good poem. Too bad Roald is gone. (Report)Reply

    (9/17/2019 1:58:00 PM)

    Not " too bad Roald is gone" (I know that's not meant to be taken literally but bear with me) : How GREAT THAT THIS POWERHOUSE OF A MAN WAS BORN AND DID LIVE! Furthermore, lived so fully and fruitfully. I never met him personally, but love Roald like a father through his work, which I grew up with (alongside Quentin Blake's illustrations) . I do not read enough these days, but Roald was a beautiful man in his way. So much love for all, through his work and even his war service.

    7 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • (6/20/2019 7:47:00 PM)

    This guy is like those memes that are trying to be deep. We get it, Roald, TV bad, book good. (Report)Reply

    (9/18/2019 12:26:00 AM)

    This guy predates memes and fought in WWII as an RAF fighter pilot (or tried to, crashed in the desert etc) . He's also one of the most well-loved Childrens authors of all time, at least in the UK. You obviously DON'T get Roald Dahl, the man was a force to be reckoned with and being a loving man, tried to teach children healthy stuff, unlike a lot of media these days (hence this poem) .

    4 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Narayana Aghalaya (6/18/2019 10:28:00 AM)

    I read again and again! So lovely! (Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • (6/15/2019 4:37:00 AM)


    Cheese comes in softness of varying degree,
    and how hard ought a brain to be?
    Solids rust and liquids freeze; and power is neither one of these.
    Seems the books that Roald likes to hype, are not the scientific type.

    (9/15/2019 1:20:00 AM)


    (9/15/2019 1:17:00 AM)

    now i know u are addicted to the teley cos u are against if u are better than him. He is a legend and u criticise him WOW.

    8 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • Shaun Cronick (6/14/2019 10:17:00 AM)

    I never grow tired of reading and enjoying this.Brilliant! (Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • (6/13/2019 12:07:00 AM)

    roald dahl was an antisemite and also wanted non-white slaves. he really hated jewish people (Report)Reply

    (9/5/2019 3:49:00 PM)

    Awesome, jews are a major problem

    2 person liked.
    10 person did not like.
  • (6/10/2019 6:29:00 PM)

    He does not. (Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • (6/10/2019 4:58:00 PM)

    Ih htsi si imen oced. I ilek ti a olt. (Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • Louemile Rosch Mangulabnan (5/28/2019 3:19:00 AM)

    The most important thing we've learned,
    So far as children are concerned,

    5 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Adeeb Alfateh (5/26/2019 11:57:00 PM)

    rated the GreAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT10+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ (Report)Reply

    8 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
Read all 426 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

What do you think this poem is about?

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

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  7. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]