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

  • (4/2/2019 6:02:00 PM)

    so insiring looooookk jlkkkglrk.g (Report) Reply

    5 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • (4/2/2019 9:52:00 AM)

    happy o i say lovely indeed with a rather butterycuppy delicay o (Report) Reply

  • (4/1/2019 4:57:00 AM)

    its a good poem especially for children but I don't think that Tv is sooo bad for you (Report) Reply

  • (3/26/2019 2:30:00 PM)

    i LOVE THIS POEM, i TELL THE SAME TO OTHERS, THEY WATCH ALL DAY, LEARN NOTHING, I CALL IT HOLDING DOWN A CHAIR GUARDING A TV (Report) Reply

  • (3/25/2019 10:54:00 PM)

    I remember reading Roald Dahl's book when I was young, and the one thing I still remember today are these poems in those books. (Report) Reply

  • (3/25/2019 9:49:00 PM)

    I think that this poem is really great and interesting. It bring out a whole new side to how we would look at something as ordinary as a TV. (Report) Reply

  • (3/18/2019 8:52:00 AM)

    superb poem! I really like it (Report) Reply

  • (3/14/2019 12:26:00 PM)

    so sorry guys you know crazy head hahahahahahah (Report) Reply

  • (3/14/2019 12:20:00 PM)

    You suck fuck you resist bitch (Report) Reply

    (4/23/2019 11:00:00 AM)

    you Donald trump

  • Alexander Julian (3/8/2019 4:19:00 AM)

    Suppose a TV recording was made of this poet's reading of the poem. Well, would the poem then be thrown away with the TV? (Report) Reply

  • (3/4/2019 11:33:00 PM)

    I read books a ton more than I watch TV, but I think that TV isn't bad for you, really just an alternative to books, as it can have some pretty educational stuff there as well. However, I think that mostly Roald Dahl is just bias, wanting people to buy his books. (Report) Reply

  • (3/4/2019 12:57:00 PM)

    It's amazing and easy to memorize (Report) Reply

    (4/16/2019 11:35:00 AM)

    you smell like go die on a A BIG FAT JUICY ONE

  • (3/3/2019 11:26:00 PM)

    We have Television poem in our Mosaic text book part 6. I am 6th standard. (Report) Reply

  • (2/27/2019 8:07:00 AM)

    3 am challenges are awesome (Report) Reply

  • (2/27/2019 8:06:00 AM)

    mwurray is like the best boy ever i love (Report) Reply

  • (2/27/2019 8:05:00 AM)

    ligma lololololollolololo (Report) Reply

  • (2/27/2019 8:02:00 AM)

    I hate my swamp it's to cold (Report) Reply

  • (2/27/2019 8:00:00 AM)

    Come to le chungus mmmmmmmmhhh (Report) Reply

  • (2/27/2019 7:58:00 AM)

    i love duo guns there awesome (Report) Reply

  • (2/27/2019 7:57:00 AM)

    This is good but you should come to le chungus (Report) Reply

Read all 392 comments »

# 10 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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