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

  • 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(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Khalid nawaz (7/1/2020 8:14:00 AM)

    Good very Good mashallah(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Michael WalkerMichael Walker (6/25/2020 9:35:00 PM)

    Childish drivel to me.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Bjpafa MeragenteBjpafa Meragente (6/25/2020 6:05:00 PM)

    I disagree. Seventh art is the word...(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Deborah Lilly (6/22/2020 6:00:00 AM)

    Oh Roald Dahl
    what have you got to say
    about all the screens today?(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • 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)(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • lone wolf 234 (6/7/2020 8:59:00 PM)

    very good to bad he is dead but your poems live on! !(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • 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!(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Anderson.Abraham (5/25/2020 10:20:00 AM)

    5352 Surf Se(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • 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.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • 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..(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Kevin Snaider (4/28/2020 12:30:00 PM)

    this poem speaks the truth
    instgram: kevin.snaider(Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • hic123 (4/27/2020 5:29:00 AM)

    ok boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooomerAlready ReportedReply

    9 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Anonymous Toast (4/23/2020 5:36:00 AM)

    This really isn't as deep as everybody sees it. He's just saying he doesnt like TV.(Report)Reply

    Yuheng Jin(6/5/2020 1:27:00 PM)

    Your mean! he is trying to tell us the truth!

    6 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • Kyvin nash (4/13/2020 5:39:00 PM)

    Beautiful , true and well written, thank you, RD(Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • A proud Slytherclaw (4/2/2020 3:29:00 AM)

    I don't have a television at my home since class 3 and now my home has turned into a beautiful library.(Report)Reply

    8 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • CptRifle (3/26/2020 4:39:00 PM)

    O.K BOOOOOOOMMMMMEEERRR(Report)Reply

    14 person liked.
    12 person did not like.
  • Ravenclaw Student (3/24/2020 7:05:00 AM)

    So funny. And true. I love books and rarely watch tv apart from to watch a film. I have to do it for English.(Report)Reply

    8 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Richard Nixon (3/3/2020 6:46:00 AM)

    I did it for checkers(Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
    8 person did not like.
  • Shaun CronickShaun Cronick (2/9/2020 4:57:00 PM)

    Timeless so timeless! Roald sir, you are a true master of the craft and
    entertain so many world-wide with your great imagination.
    I thank you so much.
    You are Heaven's gain.(Report)Reply

    18 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
Read all 487 comments »

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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