poet Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl

#16 on top 500 poets

Television

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.

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

Rating Card

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

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

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

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  • ewcwecwecwe (8/18/2020 3:55:00 AM)

    @Gobat ●▬▬▬▬PART TcIME JOBS▬▬▬▬▬●



    I am making $165 an hour working from home. i was greatly surprised at the same time as my neighbour advised me she changed into averaging $ninety five however I see the way it works now. I experience masses freedom now that i'm my non-public boss. that is what I do......

    ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓



    HERE► 𝙒𝙬𝙬.𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙠𝙨44.𝙘𝙤𝙢

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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)

    asasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasasaasasasasasasasasasasas

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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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  • Juliet L. Languedoc (7/16/2020 9:20:00 PM)

    Thanks! This piece will continue to survive.

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  • Vexafip Feri (7/12/2020 1:26:00 AM)

    ◄ DON'T AFRAID TO CORONA STAY HOME AND DO THIS WORK ►
    My friend's sister makes $61 hourly on the laptop. She has been out of a job for eight months but last month her check was $8471 just working on the laptop for a few hours.

    ❥❥❥❥ W­­­w­­­w­­­.­­­E­­­a­­­r­­­n­­­2­­­2­­­.­­­C­­­o­­­m

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  • Cineb Feri (7/6/2020 2:49:00 PM)

    ◄ DON'T AFRAID TO CORONA STAY HOME AND DO THIS WORK ►
    My friend's sister makes $61 hourly on the laptop. She has been out of a job for eight months but last month her check was $8471 just working on the laptop for a few hours.

    ❥❥❥❥ W­­­w­­­w­­­.­­­E­­­a­­­r­­­n­­­2­­­2­­­.­­­C­­­o­­­m

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  • Khalid nawaz (7/1/2020 8:14:00 AM)

    Good very Good mashallah

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  • Michael WalkerMichael Walker (6/25/2020 9:35:00 PM)

    Childish drivel to me.

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  • Bjpafa MeragenteBjpafa Meragente (6/25/2020 6:05:00 PM)

    I disagree. Seventh art is the word...

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  • Deborah Lilly (6/22/2020 6:00:00 AM)

    Oh Roald Dahl
    what have you got to say
    about all the screens today?

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  • Arev is Sun (6/20/2020 3:02:00 AM)

    If you like this poem then here's a pattern for you to follow: Aldus Huxely (The Brave New World) Marshall McLuhan (Medium is the Massage) , Neil Postman (Amusing ourselves to Death) , Roger Waters (Amused to Death)

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  • lone wolf 234 (6/7/2020 8:59:00 PM)

    very good to bad he is dead but your poems live on! !

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  • Yuheng Jin (6/5/2020 1:26:00 PM)

    This is amazing, I love television but I absolutely agree that books are amazing. And such wonderful rhymes!

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  • Anderson.Abraham (5/25/2020 10:20:00 AM)

    5352 Surf Se

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  • No Television? (5/22/2020 2:11:00 PM)

    From Wikipedia: In 1961, Dahl hosted and wrote for a science fiction and horror television anthology series called Way Out, which preceded the Twilight Zone series on the CBS network for 14 episodes from March to July.

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  • Shaun CronickShaun Cronick (5/10/2020 4:29:00 AM)

    This is one of those rare and enchanting poems that gets better and better,
    on repeated viewing.
    Roald Dahl leaves me speechless, his imagination staggers me.
    His wonderful poems have entertained children and adults alike world wide.
    And his wondrous magical stories likewise.
    A true master of the craft and so sadly missed by so many.
    Nos da Roald..

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Rating Card

Television # 9 poem on top 500 Poems
4,2 out of 5
756 total ratings
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Read poems about / on: television, children, purple, house, child, joy, fear, lost