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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

The Song for Mike Teavee

‘The most important thing we’ve learned,

So far as children are concerned,

Them near your television set –Is never, NEVER, NEVER let

Or better still, just don’t install

The idiotic thing at all.

In almost every house we’ve been,

We’ve watched the 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 eyes 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 SENSES 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 FAIRYTALE!

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,

What shall we do to entertain“

But if we take the set away,

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 hales

 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 ad Mr Role –

Oh, books, what books they used to know,

Thos 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 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 good to read.

And once they start – oh boy, oh joy!

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.

P.S. Regarding Mike Teaevee,

We very much regret that we

Shall simply have to wait and see

If we can get him back his height.

 But if we can’t – it serves him right.’

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