Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Podcast #Poetry #Flash Fiction – Escaping the Famine, Drought, Bear Witness by Sally Cronin

Some more poetry and flash fiction from one of my collections.


Image – The Colour of life by Geoffrey Cronin.

Escaping the Famine by Sally Cronin

Michael placed a clod of barren earth in a pouch before joining Maggie, waiting with their meagre possessions by the side of the road. Carrying their bundles and what food was left, they walked eighty miles through desolate lands to Cork. With their last few pounds, they bought passage on a ‘Coffin’ ship. Surviving storms and disease aboard the crowded vessel, they made their way to Michigan. Michael toiled in a copper mine, until the growing family settled on a farm near Hurontown, where they mixed the earth from the old country with the rich soil of the new.


parched soil
plants in stasis
wildlife starving and gaunt
dwell in a colourless landscape
and wait

heaven’s trumpet
awakens the near dead
into a state of expectance
and hope

born of dark clouds
plummet towards the earth
a cascade of glistening pearls
of life

drum beats
create a symphony
drawing all out of the shadows
to dance

grass shoots
vibrantly green
burst through the ground in days
a miracle of abundance
at last

Bear Witness

Images seared on the mind. Men, women and children fleeing a future they have experienced before. Faith lost in those who swore to protect. Fear that borders crossed only hold more danger. Spectators from afar can only look on powerlessly, grateful for the safety and peace they often take for granted.

do not look away
bear witness to tragedy
give deepest respect
to those who flee tyranny
do not become complacent

©Sally Cronin 2023

One of the recent  reviews for my latest collection. 

I’m glad this book is divided into two sections: one containing poems and the other with stories. Some of the poems read like prose, and readers might be confused as to what they’re reading.

I like how the author starts the collection with “Key Words,” a powerful poem emphasizing how three words can change a life. The poem to which I can relate to the most is “Useful,” talking about how smiles can make helping others rewarding. “Neighbourhood Cats” reminded me of how our cats would have gone after birds if my mother had let them.

Speaking of cats, I loved the story “The Neighbourhood Watch,” in which a cat may or may not have played a role in the death of an abusive husband. When I started reading “On the Run” and realized it was about another abusive husband, I almost skipped it. But since stories I read before it had satisfactory endings, I stuck with it and am glad I did.

Not all stories in this collection are about abusive husbands. I especially liked “The Home Help,” a surprising tale about an elderly woman who gets more than she bargains for when hiring someone to help around the house and garden.

It’s nice to read stories that cover some unpleasant topics but always have feel-good endings. If you like such stories plus poetry that’s easy to understand, this book is definitely for you. 

Thank you for listening and if you would like to know more about my books and their reviews you can find them on my books page My books and reviews 2023


35 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Podcast #Poetry #Flash Fiction – Escaping the Famine, Drought, Bear Witness by Sally Cronin

  1. I, too, was moved by your selections today, Sally! Brilliant stuff. (And I have to admit, I was clueless about the “clod of barren earth” in the pouch, until the end. And then, it not only made perfect sense, it was brought a tear to my eyes! Thanks for sharing all of the above. Loved every bit! 😀 ❤

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  3. Moving and so true, Sally. Unfortunately, with climate change, the situation is getting much worse in many places, so one has to wonder as to what the future might bring.

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  4. Visceral! We’ve had our share of droughts and into our 15 year of water restrictions. Wish the governments of the world start thinking about the environment instead of profits. Thank you for the thought provoking poems and flash fiction, Sally x

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