Old Tom “EDITED”

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 are his alone


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

© 2016, Craig Lincoln. All rights reserved.
The author has granted WritersCarnival.ca, its affiliates and syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.

Author Notes

As per my status update this edited version is up to show how feedback assists us as writers. Please read the first old tom post and pay attention to the last stanza then read this version there are two fairly minor changes but the poem reads just so much better. I would really like to know which version people prefer and why. Cheers in advance

14 Comments for “Old Tom “EDITED””



I really like this poem, Craig, and wonder if you really know someone like that old man.


Cheers Riss yes when I was a kid there was a retired railwayman up the road who kept to himself what made us kids interested was that he had an old steam train on rails in his front yard looked very cool to us kids. My nieces still live in Loftus and the train got taken away only about 6 months ago.

Anisa Claire


Hey Craig,

Just read this first one, but I’ll go on over and read the second one now, too. The one thing that stood out to be, aside from the fact that this was a beautiful poem, was where you rhyme alone with alone.

Great job!


Hi Craig, Your subject is rich and full of layers and as usual I love your poetry. A couple of stutters I had were as follows… ‘it is obvious to me’ ( they are obvious to me) feels more authentic. ‘ take to hand’ I felt the ‘to’ was sticky ( In hand ) moved better for me, finally the last line repeating ‘to me’ from the line before I think could be improved maybe with… (to see ).
As I re read a second time and although I love the word ‘stolidly’ You then go on to describe lots of things about him just by looking… As stolidly to my mind is blank, featureless and unemotional, I wondered if it was the best choice.
We all strive for perfection and each readers perfection is different, I would be satisfied if it was mine and maybe wouldn’t want to change one word. My points are made with an English woman’s view to offering another perspective. Keep doing IT Craig Lincoln cos you is good!


Thank you so much Ellen I really appreciate the feedback I am currently going back over most of my poems so any constructive feedback is welcome and am enjoying the exercise immensely cheers


I like how you replaced paramount with foremost, that works quite well! And the last line flows better, though you might add a comma to make it a stronger thought. I have a few thoughts for the first stanza now. Getting rid of some extra words to promote more flow.

“He has burdens he carries it is obvious to me
(The burdens he carries is obvious to me)
I heard somewhere he was in battles over the sea”
(I hear somewhere he fought battles over the sea)

There is always something to tweak, and that something might look different to other people. Tweak away! But, it will always be your choice and your own poem. 🙂 Thanks for the editing lessons!

Write On!

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