Benjamin Jones Goes Swimming Poem Summary and Line by Line Explanation in English Class 8th


Aileen Lucia Fisher was born on September 9, 1906 in Iron River, Michigan. She received her bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Michigan in 1927. She was an American writer of more than a hundred books for children. She thought of herself primarily as a poet and her poems are frequently used in textbooks.

Stanza 1

Benjamin Jones in confident tones
Told his Wife, “On the Fourth of July
I think I’ll compete in the free-for-all meet
I bet I can win, if I try

Here Benjamin Jones very firmly tells his wife that he will participate in a free for all swimming meet on the 4th of July where anybody from any age group can participate. He just did not say that he will try but he was also sure about winning.

Stanza 2

But his wife said, “My word! How very absurd!
You haven’t gone swimming for years.
With others so fast, you’re sure to be last,
And I’ll blush to the tip of my ears

His wife replies to him saying that it is foolish for an elderly person like him to participate, who had not gone swimming for years. While the other participants were well trained. She was worried that he would lose in the contest and make a fool of himself and thereby embarrass her. The last line says she may become red because of the shame that may cause after he loses.

Stanza 3

Well, the Fourth quickly came, and waiting acclaim
Were wonderful swimmers galore.
Each poised in his place for the start of the race,
While spectators crowded the shore

The day of the competition came very quickly and there were praises all over. There were too many good swimmers and each one of them stood ready in their place for the race to begin. The spectators that are the public have crowded the shore to support them, even Benjamin’s wife was one among the crowd.

Stanza 4

The contest began, and Benjy, poor man
Was passed on the left and the right,
His pace was so slow that a crab saw his toe
And thought it would venture a bite

The contest began, poor Benjamin swam very slowly as he had no practice. While the others pushed him behind from both the sides on the left and the right. His speed was so slow. It so happened that a crab saw his toe and tried to catch hold of it and was taught to bite. This line exhibits a lot of laughter.

Stanza 5

Ben noticed the crab as it started to grab
And – perhaps the result can be guessed,
The thought of his toe in the claw of his foe
Made him swim like a swimmer possessed

When Ben noticed the crab trying to bite his toe, he was scared about the thought of his toe in the claw of his enemy that is here, his enemy is the crab. This incident changed the whole result of the competition at the last moment. He wanted to escape from his enemy and so he swam like an extraordinary swimmer with a great spirit.

Stanza 6

And the crowd on the shore sent up a great roar
As Ben took the lead in the dash,
While his wife on the dock received such a shock
She fell in the lake with a splash

The Spectators on the shore were screaming and cheering as Ben took the lead, that is he started winning the race. He overtook everyone in the contest. He brought victory to himself as he confidently said his wife in the beginning. His wife who could not bear the shock fell into the lake with a splash. The scene was a very beautiful climax with great laughter.


The poem teaches the readers that if one makes up his mind for something or decides, then nothing can stop them, not even one’s age. Anyone can achieve anything at any age, one must not think about others’ opinions and just go for whatever they wish to do. Benjamin had not gone swimming for many years, even his wife thought it was a foolish attempt to compete with great swimmers but Benjamin didn’t lose hope and out of all the professional swimmers, despite his age and lack of experience he won the competition.