Don’t loiter in the shallows. Just wade in:
slowly if you want at first, but not too slow.
Embrace the chill of it, brimming up around you;
feel it seep into your skin. Keep going further,
deeper, even though you’ve no idea of what’s
down there, or what you might come up with.
Stretch yourself. Inhale the amniotic stink; become
weightless, a raft of sinew, limb. Soon you’ll be
out of sight of everything you’ve left behind,
buoyant and adrift amid its scales and echoes.
Don’t panic. All that you can see is all that matters.
So don’t look back. And don’t give in. Take this breath
and then, when I’d insisted I was ready, let me go,
without ever really letting go, although I did think
as if it were your last, and then the next
the same. Put your head down. Now, swim.
– John O’Donnell