It's Great When You Get In
They told me the water was lovely,
That I ought to go for a swim,
The air was maybe a trifle cool,
"You won't mind it when you get in"
So I journeyed cheerfully beach-ward,
And nobody put me wise,
But everyone boosted my courage
With an earful of jovial lies.
The Sound looked cold and clammy,
The water seemed chilly and gray,
But I hastened into my bathing suit
And floundered into the spray.
Believe me, the moment I touched it
I realized then and there,
That the fretful sea was not meant for me
But fixed for a polar bear.
I didn't swim for distance
I didn't do the crawl,
(They asked why I failed to reach the raft,
And I told them to hire a hall.)
But I girded my icy garments
Round my quaking limbs so blue,
And I beat it back to the bath house
To warm up for an age or two.
I felt like a frozen mummy
In an icy winding sheet.
It took me over an hour
To calm my chattering teeth.
And I sympathized with Peary,
I wept for Amundsen's woes,
As I tried to awaken some life in
My still unconscious toes.
So be warned by my example
And shun the flowing sea,
When the chill winds of September
Blow sad and drearily.
Heed not the tempters' chatter
Pass them the skeptics' grin
For the greatest bull that a boob can pull
Is "It's great when you get in."
Eugene O'Neill's Other Poems
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