Category Archives: Children’s Poems

Cynthia in the Snow

It SHUSHES
It hushes
The loudness in the road.
It flitter-twitters,
And laughs away from me.
It laughs a lovely whiteness,
And whitely whirls away,
To be
Some otherwhere,
Still white as milk or shirts,
So beautiful it hurts.

by Gwendolyn Brooks.

From Bronzeville Boys and Girls by Gwendolyn Brooks, 1956. Brooks (1917-2000) is a 20th century African American poet.

The children’s literature magazine, Cricket, featured in January 2015 this poem
complete with a wintery illustration.

The Owl and the Pussycat

I

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea

In a beautiful pea-green boat,

They took some honey, and plenty of money,

Wrapped up in a five-pound note.

The Owl looked up to the stars above,

And sang to a small guitar,

“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,

What a beautiful Pussy you are,

You are,

You are!

What a beautiful Pussy you are!”
 

II

Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!

How charmingly sweet you sing!

O let us be married! too long we have tarried:

But what shall we do for a ring?”

They sailed away, for a year and a day,

To the land where the Bong-Tree grows

And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood

With a ring at the end of his nose,

His nose,

His nose,

With a ring at the end of his nose.
 

III

“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling

Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”

So they took it away, and were married next day

By the Turkey who lives on the hill.

They dined on mince, and slices of quince,

Which they ate with a runcible spoon;

And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,

They danced by the light of the moon,

The moon,

The moon,

They danced by the light of the moon.
 

–Edward Lear (English illustrator & poet, 1812-1888)

 

 

 

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,
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 afeard 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;
‘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:
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)

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:

http://denverhistorytours.blogspot.com/2009/12/wynken-blynken-and-nod.html