‘The Pig’ – a poem by Roald Dahl

I hope you enjoy this!

Best wishes

Lis Goodwin – your voice coach

www.gloriousvoicecoaching.com

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Roald Dahl’s poem ‘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.

Roald Dahl

 

This poem says it all for me – I stopped watching television a few years ago, and I will never go back. I disovered that TV puts the brain in an Alpha wave state – the most receptive brainwave state in which you can be. In Alpha you have no barriers to what you are shown and told – we become relaxed, passive and very easily convinced of what we see!

Here’s a great article on the subject: Link I quote:

“When we view television, our brains mostly exhibit slow Alpha waves and waves bordering on Delta waves. This means that even though we are focused on the story or the characters or the plot, our overall level of arousal is similar to when we are very relaxed or even asleep. Experiments in the late 60’s showed that people can enter an alpha wave state as quickly as 60 seconds after beginning to watch television. Therefore, when it comes to television and brain function our brains tend to go into autopilot mode. In fact, watching television has the same effect on the brain as staring at a blank wall. […] Another state which induces alpha waves is hypnosis. […] Television advertisers have seized on this effect of television and brain function for their television commercials. When people watch most television programs, they are quite suggestible. Thus a claim made in favor of a specific product, on some level, causes the person watching television to be more apt to believe it.”

Maybe it’s time to follow the advice of the poem, and buy a big stack of books!

I hope you found this post interesting and informative. Leave me a comment to let me know what you think!

Best wishes

Lis Goodwin, your voice coach

Audio

A poem reading: Roald Dahl’s ‘Denstist and the Crocodile’

Do listen to this reading and note the importance of vocal expression in really taking this poem to the next level. This is the beauty of using poetry in our voice coaching lessons – it gives an opportunity for us to ‘act’ without having to tread the boards of a stage! Once you learn how to express yourself and enunciate well and clearly, your day-to-day voice changes subtly – it becomes more interesting for others to listen to.

I hope you enjoy it!

Best wishes

Lis Goodwin, your voice coach