Television Poems - Poems For Television

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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?
'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

  • Gold Star - 19,508 Points Kim Barney (7/14/2015 8:19:00 AM)

    This poem is on my favorites list, but it has a typo that needs to be corrected:

    The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
    With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,

    That should be Mr. Toad, not Mr. Tod. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Veteran Poet - 1,411 Points Dedan Onyango (7/11/2015 4:40:00 AM)

    I like the authenticity of the subject matter. It clearly brings the reality. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 724 Points Briony Nicholls (7/9/2015 6:21:00 AM)

    How so true! The wisdom of this poem can be extended to smartphones & the internet now. What amazes me is how all this electronic cacophony has created so much boredom, and the need for ever more brain stimulation than ever before in the masses (Report) Reply

Read all 153 comments »

Poems About Television

  1. 1. Television , Roald Dahl
  2. 2. To Television , Robert Pinsky
  3. 3. Jimmy Jet And His Tv Set , Shel Silverstein
  4. 4. My Pig Won't Let Me Watch TV , Kenn Nesbitt
  5. 5. "Mike Teavee..." , Roald Dahl
  6. 6. Evolution , Sherman Alexie
  7. 7. The Chipmunk , Ogden Nash
  8. 8. A Bit O' Fun! , Fay Slimm
  9. 9. For The Country , Philip Levine
  10. 10. Little Black Box Called Television! , Sylvia Chidi
  11. 11. Applauding A Boo , Indira Renganathan
  12. 12. - Me Telly's On The Blink: : Humour , Alessandra Liverani
  13. 13. - We Didn'T! : : Humour , Alessandra Liverani
  14. 14. A Guiding Light Is No More , Joe Rosochacki
  15. 15. 1977 , Jeffrey McDaniel
  16. 16. (09) - Domestic Interlude , James Grengs
  17. 17. That Old Fashioned Thing - A Ballad In F.. , Mystic Indian
  18. 18. A Present For The Demon Asmodeus On Hal.. , JAMES ROBERTS
  19. 19. Father's Pants , David Kowalczyk
  20. 20. Generation Deaf , Melissa Coventry
  21. 21. Television , Wayne Leon Learmond
  22. 22. Dear My Lovely Beauty Princess 3 , Ali Sabry
  23. 23. Electronic Support , Frederick Kambemba Yamusangie
  24. 24. The Flip Side , neo riddick
  25. 25. 1966 (A Monologue) , David Barlow
  26. 26. Big Pang , jonathan Juarez
  27. 27. Y/ Tuning In , Aufie Zophy
  28. 28. Television , Baidurya Mukherjee
  29. 29. Into Homelessness , lovita j r morang
  30. 30. No Flies On Yoko , Ted Sheridan
  31. 31. Take It While You Can.. , DAVID GERARDINO
  32. 32. Coming Home , Lori Messenger
  33. 33. Dirty Old Fire , Lindsay Crosby
  34. 34. Peaceful Silence , Theresa Ann Moore
  35. 35. My Dreams , Christa Rhodes
  36. 36. Little Boy World , Chris G. Vaillancourt
  37. 37. Sheeple , Chris G. Vaillancourt
  38. 38. Can'T Escape The Cooking , Reshma Ramesh
  39. 39. - Dear My Lovely Beauty Princess3- , Ali Sabry
  40. 40. Kanchivaram Silk Saree , lovita j r morang
  41. 41. Emptiness , Christine E. Maylath
  42. 42. Her Laundry List , Ted Sheridan
  43. 43. She Saw A Man On Television , Sophia White
  44. 44. Don'T Let Me Be Lonely , Claudia Rankine
  45. 45. Leave The T.V. Off , RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  46. 46. All The Memories I Will Keep Alive , Aldo Kraas
  47. 47. Oil Could Reach $500.00 A Barrel And Dea.. , Ted Sheridan
  48. 48. Ike Receives His Last Salute , Bill Grace
  49. 49. The 'Poem A Day' Project - Day 25 , Flying Lemming
  50. 50. Those Television Channels , Indira Renganathan
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