Monthly Archives: July 2012

“Time” dilemma: Seeking, NO; Escape, YES

When we use time as a means
of acquiring a quality, a virtue or a state of being,
we are merely postponing
or avoiding what is;
and I think it is important
to understand this point.

J. Krishnamurti (1895-1986)


Time Out of Mind (song by Steely Dan)

Son you better be ready for love
On this glory day,
This is your chance to believe
What I’ve got to say:

Keep your eyes on the sky
Put a dollar in the kitty
Don’t the moon look pretty?

Tonight when I chase the dragon,
The water may change to cherry wine
And the silver will turn to gold
Time out of mind.

I am holding a mystical stone,
It’s direct from Lasa
Where people are rolling in the snow
Far from the world we know.

Children we have it right here,
It’s the light in my eyes,
It’s perfection and grace,
It’s the smile on my face.

Tonight when I chase the dragon,
The water may change to cherry wine
And the silver will turn to gold
Time out of mind.

Children we have it right here,
It’s the light in my eyes,
It’s perfection and grace,
It’s the smile on my face.

Tonight when I chase the dragon,
The water may change to cherry wine
And the silver will turn to gold
Time out of mind.

Steely Dan performing Live version – “Time Out of Mind:”

What led to the reading of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

  • Am currently, this summer, working in a Children’s Dept. of a public library (& helping with the Children’s Summer Reading Program)
  • Tried, some years ago, to read the what some consider one of the most significant American novels, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain; I found it hard to decipher the colloquial dialogue and stopped within a few pages
  • When I was a 8 years old I was in a children’s theater production of “Tom Sawyer,” playing the character of Amy Lawrence.  I was curious to find out her actual role within the book
  • I like Mark Twain, and in feeling motivated right now to read a children’s book, I was curious about this well-known children’s classic

I must say the book does not disappoint.  I guess in some ways Twain was “preaching to the choir” with someone such as myself who was eager to learn about Tom Sawyer, his family situation and about his friends, Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher, as well as several others. The story takes place in the 1840s in the small town/village of St. Petersburg on the Mississippi River in Missouri.  The town is small enough that when a crisis occurs all of the townspeople are made aware.  It makes me realize now how true the expression “it takes a whole village to raise a child” is.

The character, Tom Sawyer, it turns out, is something of a young rascal who sometimes pushes things too far and suffers some as a result.  His loyalty blended with a shrewdness makes him admirable, yet often suspect, especially in the eyes of some of his elders.   And with his friends, Tom strives hard to please them while simultaneously maneuvering to get just what he wants from a situation.  It is hard to fault this boy, however, as he somehow usually manages to land on his feet time and again.

It is said that The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is semi-autobiographical – Twain says in the book’s preface that Tom is modeled after himself and two of his boyhood friends.  It turns out that several of the other characters are also based on the author’s childhood acquaintances.  Most of Twain’s boyhood was spent in the small town of Hannibal, which, like Tom Sawyer’s St. Petersburg, is along the banks of the Mississippi.


Wynken, Blynken, and Nod (Dutch Lullaby)

 Painting by Maxfield Parrish

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod (Dutch Lullaby)

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.

–by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

Eugene Field, Sr. was an American writer best known for his children’s poetry and humorous essays.  Much of his employment included stints writing for various city newspapers; he first started publishing poetry in 1879 when his book Christian Treasures appeared.  Over a dozen more volumes followed and Field’s reputation for creating light-hearted poems for children grew.  “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod” is perhaps the most well-known.

Several of Field’s poems have been set to music with commercial success.  Additionally many of his works have been illustrated by a range of various artists including a favorite of mine, American painter and illustrator, Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966).  Eugene Field has his own star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame and numerous elementary schools throughout the Midwest are named for him.

This poem “Wynken, Blynken and Nod” has also inspired two statues created in its honor.  One of these is in Denver, CO and the other in the town of Wellsboro, PA.  Information about the statues and who created them and why can be found on the following webpage: