Category Archives: Willie Nod

Willie Nod Runs Away

In my preface to “Tiger Water,” i claimed i had not seen Blythe in eleven months when i wrote the poem in November 1981. That was incorrect.

As i was thinking about that rather incredible ten months in the Western Pacific, i remembered the time line, accurately this time. i deployed as the Current Operations Officer of Commander, Amphibious Squadron Five on the flagship, USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3). Bruce Brunn, the marine major also on the staff and i flew to Oahu in early January. There we planned exercises with the Marines who would ride us throughout the deployment before we embarked on the squadron ships when they arrived.

We went throughout WESTPAC and the Indian Ocean, returning to San Diego in August. i was in San Diego for about four weeks. Blythe joined me for two weeks of that stay and my parents were here for a substantial period of Blythe’s visit. i left in early September, flying to Perth, Australia to join the USS Okinawa (LPH 3).

We returned to San Diego just before Christmas. Blythe met me in on our stop in Pearl Harbor where i took leave and spent a week with her on Oahu and flew back with her to San Diego before she returned to Austin. But perhaps, our short time together in August made me even lonelier for the rest of my time on deployment that year. Here is the next Willie Nod adventure.

Willie Nod Runs Away

Willie Nod ran away.
He had argued with his mom and dad.
As usual, Mom and Dad won.
So he told them they didn’t love him,
slamming the door to his room.

Later that night, Willie Nod slipped out of his window and ran away.
he found it was not especially hard,
except he had to leave the dog and cat behind.

Willie Nod walked out of the light of the street lamps
until he reached the woods.
Willie Nod went deep in the woods
before he looked for a place to sleep.
He found a soft bed of leaves next to a log.
Night sounds of crickets, owls,
and wind whistling through the trees
did not frighten Willie Nod for
he loved the animals and the trees.
He felt kin to the wind.

Even with the soft, sweet smelling bed of leaves and
the sandman friends’ sounds of the night
could not put Willie Nod to sleep.
He was not afraid.
He was lonely.
Deep in the night, Willie Nod was startled when
he began to understand the night sounds of the owls,
wise old birds,
the crickets and the occasional howl of the coyotes.
They were talking to Willie Nod.
He knew he could talk to them, but remained silent.
As he lay on his forest bed,
the animals told him how much he was loved.
As he lay there with the stars
peeping through the leaves,
Willie Nod realized the animals were right.
The animals told him he ran away because
he was angry at himself, not his parents, for
getting caught, for not being as good as
he knew he should be.

The wise old owls told him that he was angry because
he was ashamed to have his mom and dad
know he was not as good as he could be.

Willie Nod’s tears began to flow.

In the early morning, crying over,
Willie Nod walked back to his home.
He snuck into his room.
The dog licked his face;
the cat rubbed against his leg:
they almost gave him away.
Willie Nod crawled into bed
feeling good because
his mom and dad loved him and
he had talked to the animals
his run away was over.


Tiger Water

This is one of the rare poems i wrote for Blythe without including Willie Nod. i was in the Philippines at the Subic Bay Naval Base in November 1981. It was a wonderful year for me as i spent 10 months that year at sea in the Western Pacific. i loved it, but i was also very lonely for my daughter who i had not seen in a year. i was lonely and needed a bit of nonsense to cheer me up, so i wrote this for Blythe, hoping she would laugh and cheer me up.

Tiger Water

Tiger Water, Billy Bumble,
Why do they ask
Why I mumble?
I’ve gone and seen a kangaroo;
She laughed and called me a “big wahoo.”
You might ask why
I knew she was a she:
In a  belly pouch was a small joey
who, although he screeched it in a jumble
Said his name was Billy Bumble.
I marveled,
“Who’s heard of a joey named Billy?
“Doesn’t that strike you as rather silly?”
His mother, the ‘roo, indignantly replied,
“A wahoo like you should be fried;
“Billy will grow strong and proud
“With nothing the matter,
“I’ll bring him up on ‘Tiger Water.”
“Tiger Water?” I laughed till I cried,
But quickly stopped as soon as I spied
A hint of a tear in the kangaroo’s eye.
Tiger Water?
Billy Bumble?
And you wonder
Why I mumble?





Willie Nod’s Garden

Willie Nod’s Garden

 Willie Nod started to grow a garden.
He dug up the earth while
the rabbits, squirrels and birds
watched and laughed and chirped.
When he was finished digging,
Willie Nod planted the seeds,
then he waited
to the seeds grow
into flowers and vegetables.

The birds and squirrels and rabbits
waited for Willie Nod
to go home for supper;
then they went
into Willie Nod’s garden
to dig up the seeds and eat them.
They scurried about and nibbled the seeds;
Willie Nod finished his supper.
Then he walked out
to look at his garden
before going to bed.
When he saw
the squirrels, rabbits, and birds
eating his seeds,
he chased them away.

Planting season passed;
summer followed;
where the animals ate the seeds,
the garden was brown dirt;
the seeds not eaten bloomed, and
Willie Nod had carrots
and lettuce
and tomatoes
and okra
and spinach
and beans
and radishes
and beets
and strawberries
and corn.

Willie Nod looked at his garden thinking
if things are allowed to grow and
are tended with care,
they become beautiful.

When all the plants were ripe,
Willie Nod called all the animals
who gathered around the garden;
Willie Nod picked his garden, and
fed the animals a huge feast.
they all played together;
Willie Nod laughed and played with them.

That night Willie Nod slept very well.


Willie Nod and the Cat and the Dog

i keep discovering graphics files of Sarah’s drawings. i have yet to run across the ones that go with this Willie Nod tale. So at the bottom of this one are some of her illustrations that i haven’t included before. i think all of her illustrations are are so good, i intend to include more like these, so all of our readers have access to her drawings. To repeat, all of the illustrations here are Copyright Sarah Jewell, 2017.

Willie Nod and the Cat and the Dog

Willie Nod walked through the expanse of a wide dawning morning
with a cat and a dog before
the heat of the day put a new slant on the beauty of it all.
The birds sing loudest in
the gray blue just before the sun rises.

Willie Nod heard the birds sing and the rooster crow;
He loved the morning.

The sun slowly rose above the trees on the horizon.
For a moment, the morning was golden
before turning blue and bright.
Willie Nod loved the sun.

The people in the houses were still asleep when
Willie Nod, the cat and dog walked by.
Willie Nod thought about the people:
They were all different.
They were all good although some had more bad than good,
doing their thing,
Some succeeding, some failing,
Always changing.

Willie Nod loved the people, their differences,
Their goodness, their trying, and their changing;
hoping in the dawn
their dreams were happy ones.

Willie Nod and the dog and cat
walked back to the small house.
The dog or cat would sometimes dash off
chasing a scent or a bug;
then, they would return to his side.

The dawn was gone
When Willie Nod and his friends
reached the house.
The fullness of morning predicted a beautiful day.

Willie Nod laughed:
He loved his friends, the birds, the people,
the dawn, the beautiful day, and
the dog and the cat.

The Lion
The Silver Bird









Willie Nod, the Hop Toad, and the Lion

Willie Nod, the Hop Toad, and the Lion

Willie Nod chased the hop toad into the meadow of tall grass.
A lion lurked in the grass to
keep young boys out of the meadow.
Willie Nod forgot about the lion.
He was near the middle of the meadow when
he lost the hop toad.
Willie Nod turned and carefully walked toward the end of the meadow.
Before reaching the edge, Willie Nod came face to face with the lion.
The great tan cat with the thick, dark mane
raised himself to his greatest height and roared his loudest roar.
Willie Nod was too afraid to move as the lion crept toward him.
Willie Nod could feel the lion’s hot breath.
The lion reached out and
licked Willie Nod on the cheek,
laughing in warm fun at the boy.
Willie Nod laughed back and hugged the lion’s neck.
The hop toad peered from his hiding place and
joined the boy and lion.
The three romped through the tall grass until
they were tired and fell laughing to the ground.
Before, Willie Nod had not liked hop toads,
was afraid of lions and
the tall grass.
Now, Willie Nod loved the lion,
the hop toad, and
the tall grass.

An Introduction

This was the first Willie Nod poem written for Blythe while i was in the air between Greensboro, North Carolina and Nashville, April 1978. (Copyright 2017, jim jewell and Copyright 2017, Sarah Jewell)

Willie Nod, an Introduction

Willie Nod rode the wings of the silver bird
high in the clouds;
he laughed at the night wind
when it threw the rain.
Willie Nod smiled and rubbed the neck of his bird.
He laughed because he loved people and
the silver bird.


Willie Nod

In keeping with my mother’s observation about my father, i once again am acting like “a worm in hot ashes.” This is a project started long ago, put into a rough book form for my grandson, Samuel James Jewell Gander (just to make sure there is no confusion, once again i point out Sam’s two middle names are for his great grandfather, not his grandfather, and that makes me very happy and proud). My younger daughter Sarah  provided the illustrations in that book and it is her illustrations accompanying the writing included in this “Willie Nod” section of my website.

i now intend to post one of these at least once a week until they are all here. Eventually, i hope to turn them into a book for publication.

They began when i wrote the first one for my daughter Blythe, Sam’s mother, when she was six-years old. It was April 1978. As i recall, i was returning from a trip to Norfolk to meet Captain Stark and planning to served as his Assistant Officer In Charge (AOIC) for the one-week Surface Warfare phase of the NROTC midshipman summer training program. i would have six weeks of this training as Temporary Additional Duty (TAD) from my  position as Associate Professor (can you believe that?), Senior Naval Officer of the NROTC Unit at Texas A&M University. The divorce from Blythe’s mother was almost final. i knew my role i relished as a live-in father for Blythe was ending, and i would be gone from her for long periods of time.  

Anyway (which my mother said a lot because she was always thinking of something else while talking about something and would signal returning to her subject with “anyway” or rarely “any how), it  was on the flight leg from Greenville, North Carolina to Nashville, stopping by my parents’ home in Lebanon before returning to College Station. i was trying to think of something to write, a theme to continue when i was really away from Blythe for long periods. i looked out my port hole and thought of flying on a bird. i wrote the first Willie Nod poem.

i wrote quite a few more for Blythe, then Sarah, and maybe one or two for Sam.

i wish to point out the poems are under my copyright and the illustrations are under Sarah’s copyright.

i hope you enjoy them.

Here is Sarah’s first and second renditions of Willie Nod.

The first illustration of Willie Nod:

Sarah’s second rendition of Willie Nod.

Copyright Sarah May Jewell, 2017

Willie Nod: Silver Bird

This is one of a couple of books i’ve been working on for a long, long time. i have decided to publish them, even though they are working drafts, as serials on this website, much like Charles Dickens and many others did with magazines and newspapers a couple of centuries ago.

i know me well enough to admit the likelihood of me actually publishing these books  is highly unlikely. As for mainstream publishing, i have no desire, after gathering information on the process, to submit to the publisher’s requirements, the political maneuvering, the required marketing efforts, or the effort required from this procrastinator to meet deadlines – just ask Jared Felkins, the editor of The Lebanon Democrat.

i have also proven to myself that self-publishing as my daughter Blythe did so amazingly with her wonderfully funny poetry in Something Smells Like Pee, is a challenge because me learning to use publishing software programs looks more like a scientific research project involving mice and mazes.

Finally, my experience with print-on-demand and co-op publishing was not pleasant. I have eliminated that route from my options

Thus, it finally dawned on me i can publish them on this website.

This particular book began as a poem to my daughter Blythe when i reluctantly was  going through a separation and divorce while stationed at Texas A&M’s NROTC unit. In the summer of 1978, the Navy decided i would be an excellent choice for running the second-class midshipmen surface indoctrination at Little Creek, Virginia for the summer. Flying a puddle jumper over North Carolina, i mused over the fact that the close day-to-day relationship with Blythe was changing forever, and there was nothing i could do responsibly to change that. Looking out the window at the clouds, the beginning thoughts of this poem came into my head, and i had written the poem, intact, by the time i had landed.

Over the years, i wrote a number of poems to Blythe. Then when Sarah was born (seventeen years later than Blythe), i began a new batch of such poems. Since grandson Sam was born, i have written a couple of more and gave him a pamphlet of all of the poems a couple of Christmases ago. 

Sarah is working on illustrations for the “book,” and her drafts will be included with the poems. Obviously, i need to work on the graphics and layout.

You might say this is a work of love.

Sarah's opening drawings
Sarah’s opening drawings

willie_nod-silver bird01Willie Nod and the Silver Birdwillie_nod-silver_bird02

Willie Nod rode the wings of the silver bird
high in the clouds;
he laughed at the night wind
when it threw the rain.
Willie Nod smiled and rubbed the neck of his bird.
He laughed because he loved people and
the silver bird.