Roald Dahl

(13 September 1916 – 23 November 1990 / Cardiff / Wales)

"Mike Teavee..."

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 "Mike Teavee..." by Roald Dahl

  • mridul sharma (6/27/2020 1:08:00 AM)

    this is a very nice poem. and really i liked this poem because in my family i also used to do these things and i and my all family do this type to watch tv(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Suryansh Mehta (5/11/2020 1:29:00 PM)

    It’s a very intrusting story thank you for sharing this(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • J S h (4/23/2020 10:25:00 AM)

    I don’t like this poem because TV rocks(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Wet Person (11/6/2019 5:47:00 PM)

    I once jumped off a bridge into the water after reading this poem(Report)Reply

    Donald Trump(2/28/2020 1:47:00 PM)

    That's not very cool, Dry person

    Dry person(11/6/2019 5:48:00 PM)

    Ur weird agree with me

    5 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Adeeb AlfatehAdeeb Alfateh (7/22/2019 1:31:00 AM)

    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?

    wonderful 10++++++++++++++? ? ?(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • This Is Good PoetryThis Is Good Poetry (4/30/2019 7:33:00 AM)

    I accedentially glued my hands to a book once and my parents literally yell at me for reading too much.(Report)Reply

    11 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • anomynous2.0 (10/24/2018 2:35:00 PM)

    this and about 5-6 others are charile and the choclete factory lol yassss(Report)Reply

    11 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Anomynous (10/5/2018 8:27:00 AM)

    Dis Pwoem Is Wery Gut(Report)Reply

    6 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • mackenzie (6/4/2018 12:21:00 PM)

    amazing and fantastic that is all i can describe about it(Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Braniff (4/5/2018 6:47:00 PM)

    In these days of social networking, Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, this poem, written over half a century ago, proved to be extremely prophetic.(Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Lilly Vu (2/19/2018 4:41:00 PM)

    I am the same with Ciara(Report)Reply

    8 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Ciara (2/11/2018 5:38:00 PM)

    I LOVE THIS POEM
    but this is not how I feel about the TV...NO WAY(Report)Reply

    12 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • WENDU (2/8/2018 3:41:00 AM)

    hElLo To pEoPPLE using this sTImUlOUS iNN tHE fUtuirE.iTR IS rEALLy COOL.thIS PoEm IS OK ASwElL(Report)Reply

    ZOOEE(4/5/2018 6:48:00 AM)

    Using this for my gcse devisimng stimulus BOYYYSSS

    8 person liked.
    11 person did not like.
  • Eunjae (2/5/2018 1:52:00 PM)

    I love this. (This is in his book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.)(Report)Reply

    Jefferson''s(3/5/2018 12:30:00 PM)

    I am of fenced

    6 person liked.
    10 person did not like.
  • Shams Wagdy (2/19/2016 5:28:00 AM)

    his poems are truly heavenly. they are epic fun hilarouis in a way that no one will uderstand, he is just so amazing, i wish i could write like him.(Report)Reply

    29 person liked.
    12 person did not like.
  • Shams Wagdy (2/19/2016 5:24:00 AM)

    this is truly the best thing ive read so far, i wish i had as much talent as he did(Report)Reply

    19 person liked.
    13 person did not like.
  • * Sunprincess * (9/17/2015 9:39:00 PM)

    ..true reading is a wonderful pleasure ★(Report)Reply

    26 person liked.
    13 person did not like.
  • Tanya De Burgh (7/14/2015 4:40:00 PM)

    What a great verse and sooo funny!(Report)Reply

    27 person liked.
    11 person did not like.
  • Brian JaniBrian Jani (5/19/2014 10:21:00 AM)

    Well done road keep it up(Report)Reply

    37 person liked.
    19 person did not like.
  • Brian JaniBrian Jani (4/28/2014 3:42:00 AM)

    You surely know how to wrote, I like each and every poem of yours(Report)Reply

    41 person liked.
    14 person did not like.
Read all 44 comments »




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



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004