Old Tom

The old man walks stolidly by
Questions spring to my mind I know not why
He has burdens he carries it is obvious to me
I heard somewhere he was in battles over the sea

A back not bent but held stiff and straight
It says stay out like a locked back gate
His time with us he spends alone
The secrets of his past his to own

I see haunted eyes staring from his face
As he watches the street kids in a game of chase
What does he see from those eyes of grey
What memories does he hide from day after day

His smile he shares with us on the street
His voice to our ears however a rare treat
Thick calloused fingers and an affinity for the soil
Tell of time spent working never shirking from toil

A rural background I like to envision
With time in the services on a secret mission
An affectionate pat to the local street pets
That’s as close to our community as he ever gets

His house and yard are kept pristine
The pride he takes easy to be seen
His clothes are worn
But not tattered or torn

To get inside to know this man
A task that I must take to hand
Respect for his privacy is foremost to me
An enigma he remains a puzzle to me

Author Notes

All our communities seem to have these old gentleman in them.

6 Comments for “Old Tom”

Karen Holt


Hi Craig, I like the tone you’ve struck here… there is a sense of respect and admiration. ‘The stiff spine that says stay out’ makes me think of an old man with fierce pride who doesn’t want anyone’s pity. In truth, I guess, all of us want people to interact because they sense a connection, and not just because of a social conscience based on age. You painted a very poignant picture, here.


A poetically spoken tale delivered with care and visualised well. The only stutters, were the last two lines finishing with the same two words. A tiny adjustment that could make this great.
I find my mind as a story maker, begins shaping his secret mission, his cool grey fearless gaze taking the measure of men. Well done Craig

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *