Uncle Fred was a star on a tightrope.

He came home every day and skipped across -

Thirty feet up, without a safety net,

Above the back yards between the houses -

The swaying chasm spread before our roof.

Risking all, in any kind of weather,

He shone with elegance like Fred Astaire.

At first the neighbours applauded and cheered

(Wives lay awake in their delicious dreams),

But very soon such admiration waned.

‘Too clever by half”, ‘too big for his boots’,

Began to be heard. Husbands were jealous.

One day they cornered him, behind the pub,

And beat him close to the edge of his life.

Once recovered, Fred jacked the tightrope in;

As the nail that stood up, he was banged down.

He became just like everybody else:

Standing guard, for the first sign of trouble.

◄ Power

Sheds ►


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M.C. Newberry

Sun 16th Jan 2022 16:22

It also encourages us to wonder about the motivation that sees
certain non-conformist types of behaviour as well as the
reactions they create. Is it the resentful response to the "show-off" seeking attention or something more sinister? Perhaps we
must consider our responses accordingly when this behaviour
confronts us.

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Stephen Gospage

Sun 16th Jan 2022 15:04

I am most grateful for all your comments on this poem, John C, John B, KJ and Pete. I wanted to write about the power of our peers and society in general to snuff out individuals' dreams. 'Know your place' operates on many levels, not just from the top down. Hence, the protruding nail or the tall poppy always risks to taken down.

And thanks to Nigel, Adam, Keith, Bramwell, Julie, Stephen A, Rudyard, Holden, Jimakos and Leon for reading and liking thos poem.

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Pete (edbreathe)

Sat 15th Jan 2022 23:18

That just about sums everything up in a a sort of surreal way

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kJ Walker

Sat 15th Jan 2022 09:19

One of your best.👍

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John Botterill

Sat 15th Jan 2022 00:00

Fascinating poem, Stephen. I love the way it exposes our desire for conformity, coexisting with our enjoyment of the extraordinary.
Achieved with great skill, as ever.
As the nail that stood up, he was banged down.
Brilliant line.
Loved the poem.

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John Coopey

Fri 14th Jan 2022 23:54

Tall poppy, Stephen.

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