Ogden Nash





Seaside Serenade

It begins when you smell a funny smell,
And it isn’t vanilla or caramel,
And it isn’t forget-me-nots or lilies,
Or new-mown hay, or daffy-down-dillies,
And it’s not what the barber rubs on Father,
And it’s awful, and yet you like it rather.
No, it’s not what the barber rubs on Daddy,
It’s more like an elderly finnan haddie,
Or, shall we say, an electric fan
Blowing over a sardine can.
It smells of seaweed, it smells of clams,
It’s as fishy as ready-made telegrams,
It’s as fishy as millions of fishy fishes,
In spite of which you find it delishes,
You could do with a second helping, please,
And that, my dears, is the ocean breeze.
And pretty soon you observe a pack
Of people reclining upon their back,
And another sight that is very common
Is people reclining upon their abdomen.
And now you lose the smell of the ocean
In the sweetish vapor of sunburn lotion,
And the sun itself seems paler and colder,
Compared to vermillion face and shoulder.
The beach is peppered with ladies who look
Like pictures out of a medical book.
Last, not least, consider the kiddies,
Chirping like crickets and katydiddies,
Splashing, squealing, slithering, crawling,
Cheerful, tearful, boisterous, bawling,
Kiddies in clamorous crowds that swarm 
Heavily over your prostrate form,
Callous kiddies who gallop in myriads
Twixt ardent Apollos and eager Nereids.
Kiddies who bring, as a priceless cup,
Something dead that a wave washed up.
Oh, I must go down to the beach, my lass,
And step on a piece of broken glass.