‘Wynken, Blynken and Nod’ Poem by Eugene Field

Childhood can come crashing back when you read something from your past.  I saw the words ‘Wynken, Blynken and Nod’ and instantly I was about five years old.

Unwilling to stay in bed, sleep seemingly a million miles away, I knew as soon as my mother recited this magic poem, I would drift off into dreamland.

Eugene Field may not have known the children around the world who fell asleep under the spell of his words, but I’m pretty sure his own kids were good examples.  Did they know the entire poem?  Every line, every verse, every nuance?  I certainly did not.

If you are in the same shoe-boat, read on to discover the complete original while you sip strong coffee…


Wynken, Blynken and Nod

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, Blynken, 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 afraid are we”;
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, 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;
‘Twas all so pretty a sail
 it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folks thought ’twas a dream they’d dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea —
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
Wynken, Blynken, 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:
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.

By Eugene Field (1850 – 1895) poet and journalist.

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/eugene-field


Biography:Wynken Blyken and Nod by Eugene Field Poet Columnist 01

Eugene Field was born in St Louis, Missouri, on 2 September 1850 and by all accounts was a great practical joker.

In 1875 he married Julia Comstock and eventually they had eight children.  In 1883 he moved to Chicago, Illinois, to write a column for the Chicago Daily News.

His columns occasionally featured light verse for children and he became known as the ‘Poet of Childhood’.  These imaginative poems were both happy and sad (‘Little Boy Blue’ is a well-known tearjerker) and later published in collections including ‘The Tribune Primer’ in 1900 and ‘A Little Book of Western Verse’ in 1903.  Eugene Field died on 4 November 1895 in Chicago, Illinois.

Wynken Blyken and Nodd Artwork by Maxfield Parrish 1905Maxfield Parrish and other artists illustrated his earlier books, and artwork changed to reflect 20th century styles over the years while the eponymous characters remained constant.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward