- For many years, Thoreau’s quote of marching to a different drummer struck me – I admit to never having been one to go with the flow or to jump on the latest trends just to fit in…I sort of always knew I didn’t exactly fit in. In high school, I was in the marching band for my four years – not the most athletic or popular endeavour, and not the chick-magnet that football or soccer were.
So now I stumble on to a poem I’m sure many have seen, and I guess if I think about it, I have too. As I’ve gotten older, and start to wonder what my legacy will be, it really resonates with me, so I wanted to share it. It’s called the Men Who Don’t Fit In, by Robert William Service…he should know, he rambled from Scotland, to Vancouver Island, to the Yukon and worked as a banker, cow milker, and god-knows-what-else. I hope you find a note here that strikes you as well – enjoy.
The Men That Don’t Fit In
Robert William Service
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.