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

  • Eliza Nahayo (4/25/2018 1:38:00 AM)


    I agree, TV has killed many young minds. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (4/24/2018 11:13:00 AM)


    ☺😊😀😁😂😃 😈😠😠😇 😉😯😐😑😕😠😬😡😢😴😮😣😤😥😦😧😨😱😟😰😩😲😳😵😶😷😞😒😍😛😜😝😋😗😙😘😚😎😭 (Report) Reply

  • (4/22/2018 7:57:00 PM)


    xdxdxdxxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxd (Report) Reply

  • (4/19/2018 1:25:00 PM)


    I think today it would be I pads and other electronics (Report) Reply

  • alan  brown (4/13/2018 5:05:00 PM)


    I think there would be a riot if we took away the TV set Roald. Enjoyed your poem fantastic Alan (Report) Reply

  • (4/13/2018 2:47:00 PM)


    Roald Dahl is also horribly racist. (Report) Reply

  • (4/13/2018 2:46:00 PM)


    Roald Dahl, an author, who needs to sell books to make money, wants you to read more? He must be very philanthropic and generous.

    Straight propoganda
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/12/2018 1:09:00 PM)


    that was the most enthusiastic poem (Report) Reply

  • (4/12/2018 10:55:00 AM)


    so great this exlains the nner truth f television he is a great author (Report) Reply

  • (4/6/2018 12:32:00 PM)


    It’s amazing I love it So good (Report) Reply

  • (4/6/2018 10:48:00 AM)


    It's a good poem
    It's really really really really goooooooooood
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/6/2018 10:48:00 AM)


    What a poem! Write more! Never mind, you're dead. (Report) Reply

  • (4/6/2018 10:32:00 AM)


    What a poem... makes me wanna go away. And watch TV. (Report) Reply

  • (4/6/2018 10:29:00 AM)


    This poem is...................
    Making me think of a poem
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/3/2018 10:03:00 PM)


    watching TV you do not read.. you do not write .. you do not create.. you do not share.
    you plant no seed fly no kite you hibernate you do not care
    Is the zombie craze on TV a co-incidence? Lock your TV in a vault until they
    have developed some form of taste without it... then treat it as the mindless
    monster that it is.


    .
    (Report) Reply

  • (3/28/2018 11:14:00 PM)


    Bobnztzt I love love and you love me you lots and love love you so much and love love you so love you so much love love and you lots and lots transacted is your love and I hope you’re having lots transacted and



    gfgjfgslove you love love you lots love you hug so much and I hope you’re having lots transacted and you thank your family for Hugh I am so b hghthhht
    (Report) Reply

  • (3/28/2018 1:13:00 PM)


    i i i ii i i i iiii i iii i ii ii i iii i i i i i i i i i i i ii (Report) Reply

  • (3/28/2018 1:13:00 PM)


    fwsfefwefrhtjuyuiufgffdgrtgtrthhyjkukjghfrfregregfdvrgergtrhtyju (Report) Reply

  • (3/21/2018 10:55:00 PM)


    This pome is from the book charlie and the chocolate factory .the best poem (Report) Reply

  • (3/21/2018 10:53:00 PM)


    Very nice pome ..i love books Explains the reality of the world The best erver made nonsense verse (Report) Reply

Read all 265 comments »

# 13 poem on top 500 Poems

User Rating:
4,2 / 5 ( 733 votes ) 257



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

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


[Report Error]