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I don’t know what made me think of this the other day, but a memory of my childhood resurfaced during my morning ablutions. It was a very fond memory of me with my father when I was a wee child, and I thought I would mention it in hopes that other fathers (and mothers) of today might take this up and continue it like my father did with me (but then again, that was in another age that existed long before the Internet, iPhones, iPads, and iConsciences; but I digress).

My father will be happy to know that all these years I’ve always remembered this little thing he did with me (and probably my brothers as well). I’m not even sure if he remembers it himself (or my brothers, for that matter). He read to us at bedtime – not a story, but a poem.

I remember being all warm and snugly tucked into my bed, my father with that book of collections – but there was only one poem that he would read to me at night, and it always stuck with me: Wynkin, Blynkin, and Nod by American writer and poet Eugene Field. And whenever those memories resurface, I often find myself wondering if today’s children know of this poem (or even care about it, quite honestly). In its day (it was written in 1889), it was one of the most celebrated poems for children. Disney created an animated movie based on it in 1938, and it was turned into many musical adaptations through the years even into the 1970s.

I would be nice to hear of parents today taking time to sit down with their children with an old-fashioned thing called a “book,” turn off the iPad, the iPhone, the iTV; iSnuggle in the iBed with their iChild, and read a classic to them:

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;
‘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.

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