Category Archives: Willie Nod

A collection of children’s poems written for my grandchild.

Willie Nod and the Geese

Willie Nod and the Geese

Willie Nod was on the eastern seaboard
traveling as Willie Nod was prone to do
more often than not.
Gray November, blustery Thanksgiving eve winds
buffeted against Willie Nod’s wool clothes.
Willie Nod liked the layers of wool clothes:
he felt snug.

As the winds blew, Willie Nod looked up to the gray, close sky.
a small gaggle of geese, seven or so, he figured,
flew low in their formation of vee
heading into the wind, dead south beeline
as they were prone to do,
in November’s gray-slated skies,
much as Willie Nod was prone to travel.

Willie Nod spoke duck and rabbit
but had not much luck with camel,
so he thought he would try goose
quacked to the low flying vee
in a variation of duck.

Surprisingly, the vee veered off its course;
the gaggle rolled over in unison,
banking back toward Willie Nod,
dispersing the vee,
flappingly landing around.
Once aground, they crowded around Willie Nod.

“Hi,” the closest and largest goose honked to Willie Nod in goose.
Willie Nod recognized the difference between duck and goose.
Soon they were all honking in goose about pretty much everything.
The geese told Willie Nod a lot.
They wondered why humans considered them to be noble.
“After all,” they honked,
“We mate for life,
“Tend to each other,
“Take turns at the point of the vee,
“Not because it’s extra right or noble.
“It’s just the way we are.”

Willie Nod noted that it was still rather nice
the world would be much better off if
humans acted more like geese,
although he did admit
the noise might become unbearable if humans honked instead of talked.

The eight geese nodded, bobbing their heads in agreement.

Finally, they noted it was time to be on their way again.

“South, i know,” Willie Nod observed.
“but where south?” he asked.

“Honduras,” the fattest goose replied.
“We use to winter in Florida,” he explained,
“but the old people fed us too much and we got too fat,
so we found this lovely lake up in the Honduran mountains
where people don’t come round very much.”

The geese rose flapping and honking,
quickly forming their vee in the gray sky,
heading south with an occasional good-bye
honk to Willie Nod.

Willie Nod watch the vee
get small in the southern sky and
mumbled to himself,
“Sad that geese don’t get to spend time
in deep snow,
or feel snug in layers of wool clothing.”


Willie Nod in a Foreign Country

This Willie Nod poem was written for Blythe after my adventures in Somalia while aboard the USS Yosemite just after the 1984 New Year. That yarn is already done elsewhere and will be retold in my book about that tour. However, the poem was generated by a drive across the equator to a dinner with a Somalia plantation owner. It did look like West Texas to me, and our chauffeured early sixties Datsun damn near ran into a camel in the middle of the road that was eating the leaves off of an overhanging tree. The ship did go south to Mombassa, Kenya after the stop in Kismayo, Somalia…but Willie nor i talked to any elephants.

Willie Nod in a Foreign Country

Willie Nod
off and went to Somalia,
a land on the equator that looks a lot like West Texas;
he took no friends with him
because he hoped to make new friends;
unlike West Texas, he found Somalia
had lots of people and animals.

But then, Willie Nod did not wander off the road in Somalia;
he figured they might have snakes like West Texas,
although Willie Nod liked animals
could converse in most animal languages,
he hadn’t quite learned to handle hissing.
so, Willie Nod stayed on the road.

since there seemed to be only one road in Somalia,
Willie really didn’t know if all of Somalia looked like West Texas
except for all the people and animals
walking along the roadside and sometimes in the middle of the road.
from that one road, Willie Nod saw herds and herds of camels and goats;
there even were packs of wild boar with fierce-looking tusks
standing along the side of the road chewing grass.

Finally, Willie Nod, being a lover of animals,
could stand it no longer
stopped when he came upon this one lone camel
standing flat in the middle of the road
reaching for some leaves high in a tree overhanging the road.

Now, Willie Nod fancied himself quite a talker with animals,
and as a general rule,
he could talk with animals about as well as anyone:
he quacked with ducks,
roared with lions,
neighed with horses,
silenced with rabbits.

But even though
Willie Nod wanted to talk to camels, especially this one,
standing in the middle of the road,
he had one big problem with camels,
which wasn’t the same problem he had with snakes
(he wasn’t really too hot about learning how to hiss):

He just wasn’t quite sure how camels brayed.
he had brayed with some donkeys down in Mexico once,
camel braying was a great deal different from donkey braying.
Willie Nod’s problem with this particular camel
was made worse by the fact camels,
unlike donkeys (or for that matter, ducks),
are really quite dumb.
i mean, would you think anyone smart would stand
in the middle of the road to eat leaves off of trees?

So Willie Nod looked into the big, soft brown eyes of the camel
tried out some braying on him;
the camel just looked at him with those big sad eyes,
cocked his head to one side every now and then,
rolled those big lips up to show his bucked teeth.

When Willie Nod finally figured out he wasn’t getting anywhere,
he just headed on down the road, the one road in Somalia.
he didn’t stop anymore to try and talk to the wild boar,
or goats,
or even the people
using the road, or rather the side of the road.

Willie Nod decided to go see all the lions and elephants in Kenya
(he really wanted to try and talk to the elephants)
south of Somalia.

Willie Nod decided Somalia
really wouldn’t be all that bad if you liked West Texas
knew how to camel bray.
because there sure were a lot of camels to talk to.

Willie Nod was glad he visited Somalia
he wasn’t too anxious to go back anytime soon.


Atlantic Ocean

March II, 1984

Willie Nod and the Moon

Willie Nod and the Moon

Willie Nod walked with the full moon tonight.
He sailed across the dark heavens with no birds to carry him.
He had no wings as he flew past the stars and the planets.

Willie Nod saw the earth,
the people singing and laughing;
knowing it was good,
Willie Nod was above all of that.

He and the moon held hands
walking across the heavens.
They never laughed at the earth
or the people
or even the sunbefore it took their night away.

Willie Nod waved goodbye to the moon
As the sun took away their night;
He greeted the sun hello.
Willie Nod did not walk with the sun.
He saved that joy for the moon.
No one could take the joy away
from Willie Nod and the moon.


Willie Nod and the Rabbit

This is, quite possibly, my favorite piece about Willie Nod. It is not exactly a poem, but it’s not exactly not a poem, pretty much like all of the stuff i write…i hope. Still it is one of my favorites. It was written in November 1982. It was soon after a golf round where i saw several of the long eared jack rabbits who were plentiful around the course and this neck of the woods. These rabbits were very different from the white fluffy tail rabbits i knew in Tennessee. So i decided to write this to let Blythe know about these different rabbits.

Willie Nod and the Rabbit

Willie Nod decided it was time to have another adventure.
It so happened a rabbit was also ready for an adventure.
Like these things normally start out, Willie Nod and this rabbit ran into each other.
It happened in a field, which i would have liked to have been in Tennessee, but
The rabbit was scrawny, had bug eyes and long, thin, almost sharp ears,
Totally unlike the fuzzy, warm, slightly chubby, floppy-eared Tennessee rabbits,
Although it’s been a long time since i’ve seen rabbits in Tennessee.

Regardless, this particular field was near Yuma, Arizona,
Which partially explains the scrawniness of the rabbit.
This rabbit, by the way, had a name unlike most of Willie Nod’s animal friends.
Rabbits have been known to have names
Like Bugs, Peter, and of course, there was Harvey,
Although technically, Harvey was a puhka.
So this rabbit had a name too.
His name, oddly enough, was Rabbit Smith.

Rabbit Smith and Willie Nod met in this field in Yuma, Arizona.
Rabbit Smith liked the dry, hot weather of Yuma.
That’s why he was skinny and his cousin in Tennessee was fat.
In the shy way of rabbits, he said hello to Willie Nod.
Now most rabbits have lots of relatives.
Rabbit Smith was an exception, as he related to Willie Nod.
It did not make him unhappy, even though it did make him different.
“Well, Willie, if you don’t have a lot of other people to worry about,
You don’t have to worry about yourself so much.
i’ve never been too much of a worrier;
So one day, when i was all wrapped up in worrying about all those other scrawny, bug-eyed rabbits,
I decided I was worrying too much;
Took off; headed east.
All of those scrawny rabbits originated in California.
Those cuddly ones from Tennessee and other places have never really been rabbit enough to associate with us.”
“Anyhow, I got as far east as Yuma and all the rabbits had just about quit being around.
Stayed here ever since.
No worrying about all those other rabbits.
Oh, it sometimes gets a little lonesome, but
There’s always a prairie dog or two when I need to talk.
I figure lonesome is a whole sight better than worrying, or
Even more to the point, being worrisome,
For if I am worrying about all those other rabbits,
They must be worrying about me.”
Willie Nod got about as tired of this spiel as you did,
Wondering where it was all going to end.
It didn’t.
It just sort of stopped.

Willie Nod and Rabbit Smith kicked around together
For a couple of months.
Sometimes they would meet some of Rabbit’s prairie dog friends.
Sometimes they would see some acquaintances of Willie Nod.
Sometimes they would just walk together in the fields near Yuma.

One day, as it always happens, it was time to part ways for Willie Nod and Rabbit Smith.
You see, Rabbit had noticed Willie had a slight cold
The night before, so he made sure Willie Nod had a blanket before going to sleep.
“Willie,” he said the next morning, “I started worrying about you last night.
So I’ve got to go.”
Rabbit Smith went off, lickety-split, over the fields of Yuma.

Willie Nod wished that Rabbit had waited a minute before taking off.
You see, Willie Nod had figured out the problem:
There’s a difference between caring and worrying.
Some rabbits just can’t tell the difference.

At least, Rabbit Smith didn’t worry too much.

Reginald and Rebecca

This is another of the poems omitting Willie Nod. i wrote it in 1978 while at Texas A&M in College Station. i will refrain from describing my situation because it is not something i like to talk about. This poem was to Blythe as all of them were, adding Sarah to the “to” list after 1989. But this one was also to me. i would like most people i know to consider the poem’s intent.

Reginald and Rebecca

The Cat was fat;
his name was Reginald Are-a-Fat
He cackled at birds,
lazed in the sun
most of the day.

Reginald loved a little girl.
They both belonged to a couple,
named Poindexter.
The girl was Rebecca Poindexter.
Reginal followed Rebecca
everywhere Rebecca cared to go,
cackling and lazing in the sun while
waiting for Rebecca.

Rebecca did not appreciate Reginald’s love, but
enjoyed his company and laughed at his cackling.
Reginald had a lot of cat in him.
One day, he did a very cat thing while waiting for Rebecca
outside her friend’s house.
Reginald caught a mouse,
had it in his mouth when
Rebecca came out,
showing it proudly to her.
Rebecca was mad that
Reginald could do such a cat thing.
She swatted at him and chased him away.

Reginald Are-a-Fat was hurt and scared,
running to hide in the woods nearby.
He did not go back to the Poindexter’s house that night.
A big thunderstorm caught Reginald in a tree.
He was wet and afraid.
The Poindexter’s called for Reginald.
They coud not hear his cries above the thunder.

Rebecca cried through the night,
afraid she had driven Reginald away for good.

Cats, however, are very wise animals,
especially Reginald Are-a-Fat, the fat cat.
In the morning, the thunder, lightning and rain quit;
Wet Reginald climbed down from the tree,
dashing to the Poindexter’s door
just as Rebecca was leaving for school.

Rebecca grabbed Reginald and hugged him.
She understood his love and loved him in return.

And they lived happily ever after.

Don’t forget that no matter how a story ends, everyone has a chance to live happily ever after, if they will it so.