Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

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Wynken, Blynken and Nod, by Mabel Landrum Torrey, 1918, formerly a fountain, Washington Park, Denver[1]

"Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" is a popular poem for children written by American writer and poet Eugene Field and published on March 9, 1889. The original title was Dutch Lullaby.

The poem is a fantasy bed-time story about three children sailing and fishing amongst the stars from a boat which is a wooden shoe. The little fishermen symbolize a sleepy child's blinking eyes and nodding head.

Text[edit]

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.[2]

Musical adaptations[edit]

By 1890, the lyrics had been set to music, by American pianist and composer Ethelbert Woodbridge Nevin.

About 70 years later, songwriter Lucy Simon wrote a setting (she claimed it was "the first song I ever wrote"[3]) that has been recorded by many artists, including: herself with her sister Carly as the Simon Sisters, released as a single and on album in 1964; The Big 3 featuring Cass Elliot (1963); The Irish Rovers on their album The Life of the Rover in 1969; Roger Whittaker on his children's album The Magical World of Roger Whittaker (1975);[4] Joanie Bartels, on her 1985 album "Lullaby Magic"; Fred Penner on his children's album The Cat Came Back (1979); and the The Doobie Brothers for the children's music compilation In Harmony in 1980.

Donovan sang his own musical setting on his children's album H.M.S. Donovan (1971).[5] Buffy Saint-Marie wrote and sang her own version on Sesame Street in 1975, and on her album Sweet America (1976). Kevin Roth created his own version for his album Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.,[6] and composer Christopher Klaich set a contemporary lullaby concert setting for soprano Bianca Showalter which has either piano or chamber orchestral accompaniment. Composer Stephen DeCesare composed an SATB version of the popular poem. Tatiana Cameron sings her own version on her lullaby album A Chance to Dream. Valentine Wolfe released a heavy metal version in their album A Child's Bestiary (2016).[7] Producer David Bernard Wolf set the poem for the Barney & Friends 1995 album Barney's Sleepytime Songs.

References in other artistic works[edit]

  • Mabel Torrey created "Wynken, Blynken and Nod Fountain", dedicated in 1919 in Denver's Washington Park.
  • Walt Disney Productions made a short cartoon version of Wynken, Blynken and Nod in 1938, which stylized the fishermen of the poem as three pajama-clad children playing among the stars. In 1971, Weston Woods based a cartoon on the poem.[8]
  • Canadian children's entertainer Fred Penner included a version on his 1979 album The Cat Came Back.
  • The three smokestacks of the Lansing Board of Water & Light in Lansing, Michigan, are known locally as Wynken, Blynken, and Nod after the poem.
  • This poem is recited by Martha Wilson (Joan Plowright) in the 1993 film Dennis The Menace.
  • Shel Silverstein created a poem, "Ickle me, Pickle me, Tickle me too" who went for a ride in a flying shoe.
  • In the episode "Opie the Birdman" of The Andy Griffith Show, Opie names three baby birds Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.
  • Three of the original Dreadnoks in G.I. Joe are named Tom Winken (Torch), Richard Blinken-Smythe (Buzzer), and Harry Nod (Ripper).
  • In 2004, composer Ryan Fraley wrote a piece for school bands entitled "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" in a set along with two other songs based on stories in "A Child's Garden of Verses".
  • Wynken, Blynken and Nod appeared briefly as gas-mask-wearing tricycle-riding villains in a Doom Patrol comic book.
  • In her essay "The Ladle," Cynthia Ozick makes reference to Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.
  • In the series Willa's Wild Life there are three chinstrap penguins named Inky, Blinky, and Bob. Their names being direct references to Wynken, Blynken and Nod
  • In Disney's Toontown Online, there is a building named "Wynken, Blynken, & Nod, Attorneys at Law".
  • In the song "Justify the Thrill" by Blues Traveler the first line of lyrics make reference to Blynken & Nod.
  • Three Corgis in the young adult book Minerva Clark Goes to the Dogs by Karen Karbo are named Winkin', Blinkin', and Ned.
  • In Alfred Bester's novel The Demolished Man, police detective Lincoln Powell's three psychic secretaries are nicknamed Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.
  • In an early version of the song "Satellite of Love" by Lou Reed, the names "Harry, Mark and John" appeared as Wynken, Blynken and Nod
  • The poem was recorded by the Irish Rovers as a song called "Winken', Blinken and Nod".
  • Wynken, Blynken and Nod was used as the name of a toy store in Northgate Plaza in the town of Greece, New York, a suburb of Rochester, New York.
  • Sung by DeBlanc (played by Anatol Yusef) in Season 1 Episode 2 ("See") of the 2016 AMC TV show "Preacher", adapted from the comic book of the same name.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Mabel Landrum's original sculpture was exhibited to critical acclaim at the Art Institute of Chicago, Torrey presented her sculpture to Denver Mayor Robert W. Speer who commissioned a marble version in 1918. A bronze copy dedicated on September 23, 1938 in memory of Elizabeth Cameron Bailey is a fountain on the Green in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania.
  2. ^ http://www3.amherst.edu/~rjyanco94/literature/eugenefield/poems/poemsofchildhood/wynkenblynkenandnod.html
  3. ^ "I Found Other 'Wynken Blynken and Nod' Performances by Simon Sisters on YouTube", posted by: Sing Books with Emily, July 18, 2013. URL=https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/i-found-other-wynken-blynken-and-nod-performances-by-simon-sisters-on-youtube/
  4. ^ This album was only released on LP and only in Canada.
  5. ^ and recorded it again for his 2002 children's album Pied Piper
  6. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/now-i-lay-me-down-to-sleep-mw0000091363
  7. ^ http://www.valentinewolfe.com/listen/s/wynken_blynken_and_nod
  8. ^ [1]

External links[edit]