poet Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl

#15 on top 500 poets


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?
'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.

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003
Poem Edited: Tuesday, January 3, 2012

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Television # 9 poem on top 500 Poems
4,2 out of 5
756 total ratings
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Comments about Television by Roald Dahl

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  • I need to get away from it myself! (11/18/2020 11:36:00 PM)

    Removed it from the house so that I could get on with life. :)

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  • M S NewhadneyM S Newhadney (10/29/2020 11:17:00 AM)

    it is true that some TV programs are so superficial that you like to agree the main theme expressed in the poem above.but if we open our mind we can conclude that TV like any other medium can show both weak and powerful programs. it depends on us to be able to choose the programs we like and find useful and meaningful.

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  • Brady Scarpino (10/26/2020 9:57:00 AM)

    Awesome poem! I love it!

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  • GAURAV MAURYA (10/19/2020 10:47:00 AM)

    Very bad poem, , , ,

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  • Insha Sohab (10/16/2020 10:44:00 AM)

    This is one of the most fantastic poems I've ever read in all the long years of my life!

    Wonderful! ! 👍😍

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    3 person liked.
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  • Neo Moeng (10/7/2020 11:17:00 AM)

    The poem is nice.
    But the tone isn't that good

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    Brady Scarpino(10/26/2020 9:59:00 AM)

    All tones are like that.

    3 person liked.
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  • wow wow (10/7/2020 6:03:00 AM)

    nice it was good but not satisfying

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  • Kaveri (10/6/2020 10:41:00 PM)

    You know this is A MASTERPIECE...provided that you are not supposed to learn it for exams, , , 🤣🤯😒

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  • Brady Knutson (10/2/2020 11:19:00 AM)

    I like the rhyming sound and the I like the rhyming sound and the the words that they used when they were talking. I like how they try and get rid of the television. watch that much TV because it will not make you think straight.

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  • RIley (10/1/2020 8:45:00 AM)

    i dont like it nothing was true

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  • L Milton Hankins (9/20/2020 8:53:00 PM)

    A magnificent piece of work...and so true, I fear!

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  • Michael z (8/17/2020 11:11:00 PM)

    were on a screen looking at this now...

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  • Victoria (8/7/2020 9:04:00 AM)

    All of the boomers in the comments are giving me a brain aneurysm. Go back to the nursing home, Linda.

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  • asasas (8/6/2020 8:21:00 PM)


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  • Deluke Muwanigwa (8/3/2020 4:34:00 AM)

    Lovely stuff. It reminds me of " Lizzy Bowden" . Becareful that some of the grown up kids will not take an axe and give you forty wacks before they realise what they done and give your spouse forty one.

    I enjoyed.

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  • Aswani Sammy LuyoveAswani Sammy Luyove (7/29/2020 5:05:00 AM)

    Wonderful advice to parents. The situation is worse today with corona holding kids indoors.

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