“Television,” Poem by Roald Dahl

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 hypnotized 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.

“Constitution,” poem by Day Williams

 

 

“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”
Benjamin Franklin: “A Republic, if you can keep it.” (1787)

Constitution

When We the People formed this government,
We emphasized the people’s right to rule,
Not Kings and Queens, with ways we could amend
The Constitution, the foundation, tool

In People’s hands not to be lightly changed,
A tool requiring constant vigilance
To keep the Union and establish Justice,
Keep peace at home, provide for our defense,

Promote the common Welfare, and secure
Liberty’s Blessings to ourselves and our
Posterity; and as no man is pure,
We formed three branches to check and balance power.

Stand for free speech, free press, the right to teach
Your child of lovingkindness and God’s kingdom;
The right to use your guns, so Tyranny
Won’t march you to a grave as a naked thing.

The power structure can’t infringe on rights
Of people to petition Government
To redress grievances, or to assemble
Peaceably to declare their discontent.

You can’t be forced to house a soldier, or,
If you are jailed, to pay excessive bail,
Or to relinquish worship of the Lord,
Or to lose work because you read in Braille.

Don’t let the government inside your home
Unless police have warrants in their hands;
You need not testify against your own
Self; Government must pay to take your lands.

You have the right to have a lawyer plea
Your case, protect your rights, and keep you free;
You have the rights to jury trial and
To counsel even if you can’t pay fees.

The warden cannot punish you with cruel,
Strange punishment–you’re not his chump or fool,
And you retain your right to worship God
And freely speak, within a prison’s rules.

The Feds must honor rights of fifty States
To legislate for citizens as they
Deem best, and people and the States retain
More rights than what the Bill of Rights contains.

The Government must honor equal rights
And Law’s due process for the citizens,
And courts interpret laws with oversight,
Enforcing rights of women, children, and men.

Keep this Republic, which is based upon
The Holy Bible and the Constitution,
And disregard connivers, cranks and cons
Who peddle hollow claims of new solutions.

The Founders knew about deceitful hearts,
How men and women mean well but go wrong,
And they relied on people to give thanks,
Seek wisdom, and obey the Lord, who’s strong.

~Day Williams