So this is what inspired me to create this blog! I read the entire first book of the 1961 edition of Childcraft last night, and I decided to start this blog for fun. If you ever get your hands on some, I would strongly advise you to do so. The artwork is so beautiful; obviously a lot of thought was put into the pictures that were drawn for the poems. (I even counted how many blackbirds were baked in the pie, and there really WERE four and twenty in the picture!) The artwork is done by various artists, and I have decided that I like Eloise Wilkin‘s the best.
The poet I have always seemed to go back to is the wonderful Eugene Field of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod fame. I suppose that this is his most famous poem, although he wrote many, many, more poems that are equally beautiful. They all capture the innocence of childhood, and bring me back to the happy days of my youth. They just plain make me happy! Here are a couple selections from the first book of the 1961 edition of the Childcraft Collection.
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!”
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 a-feared are we!”
So cried the stars to the fisherman three:
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 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:
The Sugar-Plum Tree
Have you ever heard of the Sugar-Plum Tree?
‘Tis a marvel of great renown!
It blooms on the shore of the Lollipop Sea
In the garden of Shut-Eye Town;
The fruit that it bears is so wondrously sweet
(As those who have tasted it say)
That good little children have only to eat
Of that fruit to be happy next day.
When you’ve got to the tree, you would have a hard time
To capture the fruit which I sing;
The tree is so tall that no person could climb
To the boughs where the sugar-plums swing!
But up in that tree sits a chocolate cat,
And a gingerbread dog prowls below–
And this is the way you contrive to get at
Those sugar-plums tempting you so:
You say but the word to that gingerbread dog
And he barks with such terrible zest
That the chocolate cat is at once all agog,
As her swelling proportions attest.
And the chocolate cat goes cavorting around
From this leafy limb unto that,
And the sugar-plums tumble, of course, to the ground–
Hurrah for that chocolate cat!
There are marshmallows, gumdrops, and peppermint canes,
With stripings of scarlet and gold,
And you carry away of the treasure that rains
As much as your apron can hold!
So come, little child, cuddle closer to me
In your dainty white nightcap and gown,
And I’ll rock you away to that Sugar-Plum Tree
In the garden of Shut-Eye Town.
So what are your favorite poets of childhood? Name them in the comments!