We all have a desire to conform,

To be the same as every furrow ploughed.

To move to a position near the norm,

To fit in, not to stand out in the crowd.


To be the odd one out is what we dread;

We all prefer to pass and not to fail.

When somebody shakes a dissenting head,

We cure them by banging down the nail.


It’s too hard to live as an outsider;

There arise so many complications.

Your gap from the herd grows ever wider;

Doubt gnaws away at your foundations.

◄ Death of a Tourist

In the darkness ►


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Stephen Gospage

Tue 22nd Dec 2020 17:24

Good point, Aviva. Yes, I suppose you have to first conform to understand why you want to rebel.

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Aviva Rifka Bhandari

Tue 22nd Dec 2020 17:10

And yet I think it is those who are not allowed to fit in who have that desire to conform and be with all the rest, whilst those who are already amongst the throng and not allowed to be otherwise in fact have a strong desire to be different and that's why hammers are needed.

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Stephen Gospage

Tue 24th Nov 2020 17:54

Interesting discussion and comments. Thanks, everyone, and to Stephen for the like.
I am not by nature a conformist but am fascinated by the pressure to conform. I spent some time in Japan, where they say that the nail which sticks up will be hammered down.
There seems to be some inevitability about the process. I recently saw 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning', where the rebellious Arthur Seaton seems at the end to bow to the inevitable and accept marriage and a new-built house. What else could he do?
In the end, perhaps breaking the mould requires you to conform in some way. Even 1960s hippies set up structures and hierarchies.
But let's keep trying to push the boundaries, even if we can't cross them.

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John Coopey

Mon 23rd Nov 2020 21:29

Perversely, Stephen, I've always taken immense enjoyment from breaking the mould.

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Mon 23rd Nov 2020 21:23

I think the mere fact of thinking in poetical terms puts us outside the vast majority Stephen, and engenders a sense of comradeship although I suppose the same feelings could accompany other groups, most of which are mainly conventional however. I rest my case. Carry on regardless..


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keith jeffries

Mon 23rd Nov 2020 21:20


A poem of enquiry about conformity which invariably robs people of their identity. Over many years of conformity I have become a fierce opponent of this philosophy. The individual is more important than the collective. To oppose conformity is to express freedom of thought.

A thoughtful poem and thank you for it


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Paul Sayer

Mon 23rd Nov 2020 18:50

Great piece of poetry

Happily, it never applied to me
Never one to run with the pack
I'd rather hunt with the wolf.

"We cure them by banging down the nail."...

You have really nailed it with this one Steve, Great job.


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