Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

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.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Adi Cox (8/29/2009 2:27:00 PM)

    This poem haunts me. It is one of my favorite poems, but there are deep concerns. (Report) Reply

  • Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (6/18/2009 11:44:00 AM)

    I spent a long looking for this poem after hearing some of the lines on a TV show many years ago.I think is one of the best poems about free spirit that I have ever read.it's in my top ten favorite poem list. (Report) Reply

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