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

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


    amazing descriptive writings (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (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

  • (6/28/2018 9:52:00 AM)


    The best poem as well as poet ever (Report) Reply

  • (6/28/2018 4:53:00 AM)


    w­h­At ­m­Ar­cus ­i­m­p­l­i­e­d ­i ­d­i­d­n't ­k­n­ow t­h­At ­A st­Ay ­At ­h­o­m­e ­m­o­m ­A­b­l­e t­o ­g­et ­p­A­i­d $4252 ­i­n 4 w­e­e­ks ­o­n t­h­e ­c­o­m­put­er. ­h­Av­e y­ou r­e­A­d t­h­is w­e­b ­l­i­n­k­g­o t­o t­h­is s­it­e ­h­o­m­e t­A­b ­f­or ­m­or­e ­d­et­A­i­l.www.jobiron14.com (Report) Reply

  • Robert Murray Smith (6/18/2018 7:10:00 PM)


    The same could be said for phone gazers today. (Report) Reply

  • Dr.tony Brahmin (6/18/2018 2:12:00 PM)


    Very fine poem fine imagination.. and very much objective......... thanku dear poet. tony (Report) Reply

  • Lungelo S Mbuyazi (6/18/2018 2:05:00 PM)


    Simply nice poem... I like this line

    They'll wonder what they'd ever seen
    In that ridiculous machine,
    That nauseating, foul, unclean,
    Repulsive television screen!
    (Report) Reply

    (7/10/2018 4:47:00 AM)

    Once you listen to Indian songs you will be killed

  • Edward Kofi Louis (6/18/2018 1:32:00 PM)


    IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD!

    And today with the SMART PHONES in the hands.

    Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
    (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (6/18/2018 9:43:00 AM)


    What an objective view, though with a dash of imagination, has been taken about the ill-effects of television in this poem. This is there for all of us to see. Amazing piece of poetry. Thanks. (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (6/18/2018 4:58:00 AM)


    The merits and demerits of using television is astutely inscribed here. Beautiful poem shared by Roald Dahl. (Report) Reply

  • Adrian Flett (6/18/2018 4:34:00 AM)


    Such fun; such truth. Books will survive and remain immortal. (Report) Reply

  • Muzahidul Reza (6/18/2018 4:12:00 AM)


    A strong and powerful instrument, well by Roald Dahl (Report) Reply

  • (6/13/2018 6:29:00 AM)


    if you don't like this comment I will tell my mum also this poem is good and we based a drama performance of this poem its really good (Report) Reply

  • (6/12/2018 7:01:00 AM)


    JUST FANTABULOUS (Report) Reply

  • (6/12/2018 7:00:00 AM)


    JUST FANTABULUOA (Report) Reply

  • (6/11/2018 9:29:00 AM)


    Too long poem (Report) Reply

Read all 306 comments »

# 13 poem on top 500 Poems

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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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