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

  • Raynolds Moseamedi (10/17/2018 8:49:00 AM)


    Nice poem .................................. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (10/5/2018 3:24:00 AM)


    Haha, marvellous A wonderful poem. There are some interesting tv progs but books hold far more. (Report) Reply

  • Practicing Poetess (9/26/2018 7:10:00 PM)


    It matters not if the poem is long or short- - What matters is its QUALITY. This is a wonderfully hilarious poem that holds your attention from start to finish, as it makes very valid points in comical style.
    Hats off to Roald Dahl, one of my personal favourites (although if he were alive today, he'd be writing about the computer, not the T.V.!)
    (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (9/26/2018 5:09:00 AM)


    IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
    HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND....these lines states the demerits of T V. Beautiful presentation.
    (Report) Reply

  • Mahtab Bangalee (9/26/2018 2:11:00 AM)


    And you've given-
    reign in mind, state, country, kingdom in materialistic and fantasy; in happiness and sorrow
    more than me, than he, than you
    than everything
    And me, my sense, conscience, happiness, sorrow.....................!
    Thank you O' Television for your noble inventive service in this modern period
    ...........
    (Report) Reply

  • (9/17/2018 11:16:00 AM)


    Is soooooooooo loooooooong (Report) Reply

    (9/20/2018 3:29:00 AM)

    Ooooooof in the chat FOR THOSE LIKES🤪🤪

  • (9/11/2018 11:13:00 AM)


    soooooooo loooooooooooooooooooong (Report) Reply

  • (9/10/2018 10:15:00 AM)


    Nice poem (Report) Reply

  • Baquee Billah Ahmed (9/5/2018 3:32:00 PM)


    it is so good................................................... (Report) Reply

  • (9/4/2018 6:40:00 PM)


    grate poem, my mother and farther had me and

    my brothers, go out and play, and not watch t.v. all day.
    (Report) Reply

  • (9/4/2018 5:14:00 AM)


    😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡 (Report) Reply

  • (9/4/2018 5:13:00 AM)


    Just Amazing (Report) Reply

  • (8/21/2018 11:50:00 PM)


    , this poem is like really f'ed (Report) Reply

  • (8/21/2018 11:49:00 PM)


    What a weird story, it's got cannibalism (Report) Reply

  • Britte Ninad (8/13/2018 1:47:00 AM)


    amazing descriptive writings (Report) Reply

  • (8/9/2018 3:16:00 AM)


    amazing.............. (Report) Reply

  • (8/5/2018 12:07:00 AM)


    War of tank (Report) Reply

  • (7/10/2018 9:14:00 AM)


    It is much worse now that we can watch videos over and over. Children memorize every word and talk incessantly about videos. What are they filling their souls with? Commercial material designed not with their well-being in mind but to turn them into consumers. (Report) Reply

  • (7/8/2018 12:13:00 AM)


    Wonderful (Report) Reply

  • (6/29/2018 5:43:00 AM)


    Nice poem (Report) Reply

Read all 321 comments »

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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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