Wynken Blynken And Nod

When I was little, my very favorite book was one Gramma Great read to me frequently—Wynken Blynken And Nod by Eugene Field. I’ve loved it since, in part because it reminds me of time spent with Gramma, but also because the imagery is so, so lovely.

The poem, a Dutch nursery rhyme, is in the public domain, so I’ll share it here.

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe—
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going, and what do you wish?”
The old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!”
Said Wynken,
And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in that beautiful sea—
“Now cast your nets wherever you wish—
Never afeard are we”;
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
And Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam—
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe,
Bringing the fishermen home;
‘T was all so pretty a sail it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folks thought ‘t was a dream they ‘d dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea—
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
And Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one’s trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
And Nod.

Gramma lent me her copy of the book when Ava was born, or maybe even before. The book belonged to my mother—I know this because she scrawled her name on a many of the worn pages. This copy now sits high on Livie’s shelf, out of reach of the most recent grandchild (who happens to have have a penchant for both markers and general destruction).


I memorized the book more than nine years ago, reading it over and over to a baby who seemed only to sleep while she was being rocked. It became part of our nightly ritual, along with a couple of other books and a few favorite songs. We even found a gorgeous edition at our local bookstore—this one, we keep on the bookcase.

I recited the poem to Olivia each night when I rocked her, too. Though those days are sadly long past, she still requests it at least once a week at bedtime.  I hadn’t thought much about it until she brought this home on Mother’s Day.


And now, though I’ve already shared the words with Owen only an hour or so before, when I tuck in sweet Olivia, I can barely make it through the first verse with dry eyes. I’m so glad to know she loves this as much as I do.

Thanks, Gramma, for introducing us to the most perfect of poems.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rebecca's Mom on June 5, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    ((Tears!)) Such a special ritual. Love you!

  2. Posted by Gramma Great on June 5, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    This is a very special post, Rebecca! I’m so happy it is still an important part of bedtime. And what a special gift to you from Olivia. I’m sure that note will be saved for a long time. Love to all of you.

  3. Such beautiful memories, Rebecca, both of your own childhood and that you’re helping your kids create. And gorgeously written!

  4. This title is in my memory, but I don’t ever remember reading the poem. Beautiful!

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