Wednesday, 14 February 2018

The Men That Don't Fit In

There's a race of men that don't fit in,

A race that can't stay still;

So they break the hearts of kith and kin,

And they roam the world at will.

They range the field and they rove the flood,

And they climb the mountain's crest;

Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,

And they don't know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;

They are strong and brave and true;

But they're always tired of the things that are,

And they want the strange and new.

They say: "Could I find my proper groove,

What a deep mark I would make!"

So they chop and change, and each fresh move

Is only a fresh mistake.

And each forgets, as he strips and runs

With a brilliant, fitful pace,

It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones

Who win in the lifelong race.

And each forgets that his youth has fled,

Forgets that his prime is past,

Till he stands one day, with a hope that's dead,

In the glare of the truth at last.

He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;

He has just done things by half.

Life's been a jolly good joke on him,

And now is the time to laugh.

Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;

He was never meant to win;

He's a rolling stone, and it's bred in the bone;

He's a man who won't fit in.

Robert W. Service

Born     January 16, 1874
Preston, Lancashire, England
Died     September 11, 1958 (aged 84)
Lancieux, Côtes-d'Armor, France


  1. Hippo? Is it really you? We thought you had been abducted by aliens.

    1. This is theatrical and so unlike tom who would have left some sort of postscript ...I don't believe it

    2. But Tom has always been "theatrical", John, retelling (I wouldn't even suggest embellishing) his hair raising adventures with such gusto. However, I would say there was an underlying element of melancholy about him. And on having read the poem slowly and several times, it fits him to a tee; albeit a slightly worrying tee. But then Tom has always been self aware; little, if any, bullshitting for him. A free spirit, one of life's good guys. He'd stand on a landmine before he'd let you.


  2. Always liked the poems of Robert Service. Great to hear from you Tom!

  3. Ditto. Has someone stolen your blog? We have missed you terribly and I can only assume you've been building and caring for your young ones.

  4. Such a wonderful by-line. Welcome back. How I hope you've come to recount the jolly good jokes of the Legion Lost. You may be astounded to see how many of us are in that audience.

  5. What a surprise! Good to see you are back! I've missed your posts.

  6. I echo thoughts of others - is that really you or have you been hijacked? If so, let us poor morsels know how you and yours are.

  7. Hey, gimpy, is that really you? You broke in those fancy boots yet? That piece by Mr Service sounds a bit ominous. How about some clarification on what has happened with you over the last couple years while you have been MIA, you know, for us low brow pedestrians that are not conversant in fancy literature.

  8. Well Hello Hippo ! It's nice to hear rom you if only by way of this slightly ominous poem. ( I like it very much by the way )
    Hope Marcia and the children are OK and you are too. Please just drop us a line to let us know.

  9. Hey Tom! Glad to see you back from Yoghurt Knitter no.1!

  10. Fuck me... I've emailed u , worried about you and guessed what happened about you and u never replied is this u?
    Forgive me but I am wondering that it isn't ?
    If it is are a shit.....a shit I missed ...but a fucking shit
    Please answer

  11. Replies
    1. Language, this is a family blog...

    2. When has a misogynist hippo bastard ever chastised anyone when he would be the first to admit his own failings? You are not Tom, unless you have been tied to a keyboard under threat...

  12. I hope this is Tom, but I'm afraid to believe it.

  13. Yes, I am back. But just don't ask...

    1. Tom, what a befitting way to start the Year of the Dog.


    2. Glad to see you back. Won't ask, but hope at some point, you do tell.

  14. I’m so happy you’re back, I hope Marcia, Alex, Dom, and little lady Charlie ( I hope the names are right ) and of course yourself are well’ve been missed ..

  15. I'm not convinced. I hope - but I'm not convinced.

  16. Thanks for sharing this poem Tom. I had never encountered it before. Thought-provoking and it seems to somehow fit your life of derring-do. Welcoome back Cap'n!

  17. h john. you're just afraid the hippo will steal some of your thunder. don't fret, at least your dogs will keep most of your audience!!! (tee hee)

  18. I was not familiar with this poem but as I began reading it I said to myself, "Self, this sounds a lot like (and has the rhythms of) Robert W. Service. Lo and behold, I was right.

    A comment in John Gray's post today that you were back brought me here. Now I'm as wary as he. This doesn't sound like you, Tom. Unless you have been domesticated at last. If Marsha, Dominic, and Alex couldn't achieve that feat, maybe Charlie has.

    I'm hoping you're real.

  19. I too confess that I would like it to be real and await to be convinced.
    It would be nice though.

  20. I am glad to see you back; your disappearance was a bit of a mystery.

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Why your need to push it, John? Why can't you leave it? And wait? Maybe wait in vain.

      Life is not about (instant) gratification. Tom sent a sign. Other people disappear without so much as taking matches to later light a fire and make smoke signals. I don't understand your apparent feeling entitled that Tom owes you/his readers. He doesn't. On his blog, he put himself out. Then he took himself back.

      You, John, are used to, more or less obedient, dogs. Not everyone can be tamed to your specification.


  22. Hippo: just found your blog. It’s been fun reading the old posts.

  23. Does one of that particular race of man have a son? Daughter?

  24. Your site is very useful for me,Thanks for your sharing.


  25. Tom Wonderful to know you are still pottering around Africa sorry we have lost touch for so long I don't have so many Angola contacts these days. Kym and the Boys send their best too Neil.

  26. Yay hippo's back, or at least some semblance of hippo!!!!Love the poem. Jan Butcherx.

  27. The name got me in but I didn't expect poetry that was a surprise.

  28. Hippo! I m happy to see you are still around, even if things maybe aren't so good at your end? It's totally okay if you are one of the men that don't fit in. We need them as well. So maybe you walked away from everything, you are still a precious specimen of a man. Don't know if you remember me? Elsewhere from amsterdam. I sent you herring to England when you were there to have your leg seen to. Not sure it ever arrived. Anyway, there's no sin great enough to not resurface. I hope you do.

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