Smorgasbord Poetry – #Haibun – Circles of Life by Sally Cronin


For the next few weeks Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge  is on hiatus as Colleen sells up and moves home which is very exciting.. She has asked that her regular participants continue with their weekly poem and I shall do just that. It is poet’s choice, so this week I have decided to combine the prose and verse of a Haibun.

Circles of Life – Sally Cronin

I walk through circles created by the drops of rain in the puddle of moonlit water. Like the cyclical movement of my life since birth, some of the rounded shapes are clearly defined. Others are blurred as they radiate outwards. Always seeking something. Where they merge with larger circles they are absorbed and become part of a greater entity. Some just make a small ripple that is barely noticed. I disturb the water with my feet, briefly distorting the outlines. But, within seconds, they resume their radiating formations as if I was never there.

Water comes alive
As raindrops break the surface
Creating chaos

Thanks for dropping in and I hope that you have enjoyed this week’s musings…Sally

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Smorgasbord Poetry – #Etheree – Age Defying by Sally Cronin


For the next few weeks Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge  is on hiatus as Colleen sells up and moves home which is very exciting.. She has asked that her regular participants continue with their weekly poem and I shall do just that. It is poet’s choice, so this week I have decided on a Etheree…..with a little humour….

Age Defying

The blessing of age is fading eyesight
that offers the delusion of youth
and denial of years passing
as you look in the mirror
where you apply a mask
from a magician
who promises
to hold back
demon
time

©Sally Cronin

I hope you will keep moving your syllables around while Colleen is house hunting and drop me a link and happy to share…Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Poetry – Colleen Chesebro’s #Weekly Poetry Challenge #Etheree – How to Succeed in Life by Sally Cronin


Time for Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 127 and this week the prompt words are ‘Follow and Lead’…. I have chosen ‘Succeed and Hint’ as my synonyms.

How to Succeed in Life – Etheree

If you strive to succeed in our wide world
then let me give you a helpful hint
learn all you can about the rules
before you show to people
your singularity
and ability
to thrive outside
the confines
of life’s
box

©Sally Cronin

If you would like to participate in this wonderful challenge then please click the link: Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 127

Thank you for dropping by and your comments are always very welcome.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round up – Waterford Castle, Romance, Great Food, Music and a few Laffs.


Welcome to the weekly round up and I have been off on a jaunt this week. As a birthday treat we went down to Waterford, which is David’s home town for a couple of days and stayed at the Waterford Castle Hotel on its own private Island.

You reach the island by a chain link ferry which only takes two minutes and runs every 15 minutes during the day and 30 minutes at night. We had a suite overlooking the magnificent gardens and all the rooms have wonderful features introduced over the long history of the castle. Such as this fireplace with a Wedgewood insert.

History of Wateford Castle

Throughout the centuries, the Island’s strategic location, in a pivotal position near Waterford City, brought it historical fame playing a major role in the history of the region.

From the 6th century settlement of Monks to the Vikings in the 9th – 11th Centuries. Followed by Norman Invasion of 1170 were Maurice Fitzgerald became the potentate of the Island and the Fitzgerald family legacy lasted for over 800 years.

You can download the full history of the castle
Click here to download our History brochure.

The food was wonderful and we ate in their award winning restaurant on the first night – freshly sourced produce, deliciously prepared. The service was brilliant and it was a meal to remember. We were treated to some live music in the form of a talented pianist and each course was much appreciated. Certainly a stunning venue for a Wedding.

The next day we had a wonderful breakfast (great poached eggs) in an atrium overlooking the gardens, with some of the wildlife in attendance. Including a red squirrel, unusual to find in Ireland but clearly the grey squirrels who decimated the red population have not learnt to use the ferry to get to the island. As we walked to the car park, we also encountered to deer intent of feasting on the new crocus shoots.

We spent the day touring the coast and revisiting some of David’s childhood and teen haunts as well as the cottage, right on Woodstown beach where Geoff Cronin (you might have read his memoirs here) grew up. Also Dunmore and Tramore, holiday spots in the summer when the family lived in the centre of Waterford.

That afternoon we went in to the city and checked out the regeneration that took place in the 1990s up to the present day. We had a birthday tea in The Vintage Parlour Tea Rooms and I had the best Victoria sponge I have ever eaten… with fresh cream… and David had a delicious piece of apple tart. Fortified with a couple of cups (porcelain) of tea, we explored the local estate agents with a view to moving to Waterford once we sell our house here in Wexford next spring (or sooner). Certainly Waterford is on the list of options as the city has great facilities and is close to some stunning coastline.

We ended the day with dinner at The Bodega Mediterranean Restaurant and I can highly recommend, especially the monkfish scampi starter. The  food, atmosphere and service was excellent and brought back happy memories of our years in Madrid.

If you are planning on visiting Ireland I do recommend that you put Waterford on the schedule. If you are travelling with family then I suggest you book one of their lodges which sleep six people and are self-catered, but you can still eat in the restaurant or clubhouse if you wish. There is a golf course, tennis courts and fabulous walks around the island. You are central for the coastline to the south of Wateford towards Cork, and when the new bridge is completed (the longest in Ireland) later this summer, it will be a much faster trip to Dublin.

Now time to catch up with the posts on Smorgasbord you might have missed during the week.

This week Paul Andruss shares part two of his recommendations for early spring bulbs.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/16/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-gardening-column-with-paul-andruss-this-week-spring-bulbs-part-two-daffodils-narcissus-jonquils/

And on the subject of food…. something from the Thai kitchen of Carol Taylor.. a three course meal that should get Valentine’s evening off to a good start.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/13/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-st-valentines-day-thai-three-course-dinner/

A new series of Posts from Your Archives and to kick the series off, one of D.G. Kaye’s heartfelt and heartbreaking – Memoir Bytes where she shares her childhood memories. Details of how you can share previous articles from your archives are in the post.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/15/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-memoir-bytes-love-notes-and-other-words-by-d-g-kaye/

This week my guest is author Abbie Taylor who shares her inspiring story as well as some interesting responses to the questions.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/17/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-author-abbie-taylor/

Here is my response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 123

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebro-weekly-poetry-challenge-etheree-romance-by-sally-cronin/

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction this week prompted 99 word stories on the subject of Valentines.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/16/smorgasbord-short-stories-carrot-flash-fiction-challenge-together-forever-by-sally-cronin/

In this week’s music column, I share a song from each of the decades that I have been listening to music… and next Friday I will be sharing the requests that you shared, the songs that you felt were the most romantic.

Now time for the round up of the posts this week that you might have missed.

An extract from Tales from the Irish Garden to celebrate romance. Queen Filigree meets the roguish Prince Ronan.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/tales-from-the-irish-garden-valentines-day-story-the-magic-garden-comes-to-life-by-sally-cronin/

Last year I wrote this post for USA Today Bestselling romance author Jacquie Biggar on keeping the magic of romance alive…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/keeping-the-magic-of-romance-alive-every-day-by-sally-cronin/

This week in the R’s of Life, part two on the subject of relationships, and the impact of a dysfunctional childhood on our ability to connect as adults.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/12/something-to-think-about-the-rs-of-life-relationships-in-a-modern-world-part-two-adulthood-by-sally-cronin/

I reviewed two books this week.. the first being The Beast Within (Mended Souls Two) by Jacquie Biggar.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/13/smorgasbord-book-reviews-the-beast-within-mended-souls-book-two-by-jacquie-biggar/

And the second book was first book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries, Academic Curveball by James J. Cudney

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/16/smorgasbord-book-reviews-mystery-academic-curveball-by-james-j-cudney/

Author Updates and reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-claire-fullerton-darlene-foster-and-angie-dokos/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-jacquie-biggar-clifford-browder-and-christine-campbell/

Many foods have been labelled aphrodisiacs through history, some deservedly so…but they also tend to be highly nutritious and have a positive effect on the whole body and not just the libido.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/11/smorgasbord-health-column-foods-to-get-you-in-the-mood-for-st-valentines-day-by-sally-cronin/

This week’s chapter looks at the impact of an overgrowth of Candida Albicans on our overall health. The symptoms number around 125, and I included some of the key signs that your gut may have been compromised.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/16/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-candida-albicans-sally-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/12/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-valentine-special-you-knows-i-loves-you-right/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/02/14/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-valentines-day-special-and-a-parrot-with-moves/

Thank you very much for dropping in today and for your visits this week. Your comments and sharing on your own social media is much appreciated as always. Have a great week and hope to see you again soon.

Smorgasbord Poetry – Colleen Chesebro weekly #Poetry Challenge #Etheree – Romance by Sally Cronin


I have been away for a couple of days to celebrate my birthday and Valentine’s Day, but back in time to share my response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 123

This week the prompt words are ‘Meaning and Passion’ in honour of this holiday.

I have chosen ‘Significance and Desire’ for my Etheree – Romance

And if you would like to participate in Colleen’s wonderful weekly challenge, then gather your syllables and synonyms together and head over: https://colleenchesebro.com/2019/02/12/colleens-2019-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-123-synonymsonly/

Thank you for dropping and as always your feedback is very much appreciated.. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Good music, food, books, humour and great guests.


Welcome to the weekly round up of posts that you might have missed and I hope you have had a great week. This morning the sun is shining although it is cold. Being close to the south east coast we rarely get snow here, although last year it was an exception and it lasted a week. I know that some of you are facing extremely harsh conditions and whilst I may moan about the rain here in Ireland, we don’t have the extremes of weather that cause havoc.

It has been a busy week offline as I am back to writing everyday, posts for the blog and also new projects. One of those projects is to revive some of the stories and books that were started and then fell by the wayside. Apart from paper copies from long ago, there are also digital files that have been designated to a folder and then forgotten. I am enjoying reading stuff I wrote long ago, including some song lyrics from my 20s that have been lying dormant. I don’t remember the angst that I clearly felt when penning some of them, nor to be honest the people who caused such emotional outpourings!  Anyway, some of it will find its way into stories and poetry going forward and at least it won’t have gone to waste.

It is a lesson however, to make sure you do revisit previous stories or poems, as it is amazing how time, age and experience can bring new life to them.

Here are the posts from the week and as always my thanks to the team who contribute such amazing posts and for you for coming in to read and share them.

William Price King shares the life and music of Wee Pee Russell… Jazz Clarinettist

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/22/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-with-pee-wee-russell-clarinettist-jazz/

Carol Taylor, who is in the middle of her summer, kindly creates some winter warmers for those of us who are freezing…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/23/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-winter-warmers/

This week my guest is American author Karina Bartow sharing her craziest experience, fashion sense and her love of country life.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/27/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-author-karina-bartow/

The R’s of Life – Recognition

As a young manager over forty years ago, I was tasked to manage an established team who were all at least twenty years older than I was. I had already run my own business and also managed good-sized teams in the catering industry, but this was daunting. Thankfully I had been lucky enough to have worked for a wonderful manager, when beginning my career, who had given me a valuable piece of advice. That was to identify as quickly as possible, what motivated an individual member of staff and to develop a relationship based on the recognition of that motivation.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/22/something-to-think-about-the-rs-of-life-recognition-our-place-in-a-modern-society-by-sally-cronin/

It is 1998 and we move into our new home in Ireland, find the dog of our dreams and I buy a business.. all to the beat of Shania Twain.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/24/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-and-memories-1998-new-home-meeting-sam-a-health-food-shop-and-shania-twain/

This week’s  Colleen Chesebro poetry challenge – Freezing and Tempest – My first attempt at a Butterfly Cinquain

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/23/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-tuesday-poetry-challenge-120-freezing-and-tempest-sally-cronin/

The second part of our trip to New Mexico.. with a hike in McKittrick Canyon and a visit to the living desert.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/25/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-1986-new-mexico-mckittrick-canyon-and-the-living-desert-part-two/

This week the accumulation factor of food and life.

It is very easy to think that a couple of biscuits with coffee every morning and with tea in the afternoon, will not make any difference to your weight.. but the accumulation factor tells a different story. Over a year having four digestive biscuits a day adds up to 32lbs or nearly 15kilos in body fat! Having a healthy diet is not about giving up everything we enjoy, but moderating how much of it you eat.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/26/smorgasbord-health-morbid-obesity-size-matters-the-sequel-chapter-two-the-accumulative-factor-of-food-and-life-sally-cronin/

Now that I have scheduled more time to write, I thought that I might join the many participants of the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge under the dedicated management of Charli Mills. It is a great exercise in brevity and I am looking forward to challenging myself. Here is my response…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/26/smorgasbord-short-story-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-challenge-broken-by-sally-cronin/New book on the shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/21/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-the-bright-side-of-darkness-by-j-e-pinto/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/24/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-pre-order-price-life-in-a-conversation-by-geoff-le-pard/

Author update

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/21/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-update-reviews-teagan-riordain-geneviene-robbie-cheadle-elsie-hancy-eaton-and-vashti-quiroz-vega/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/25/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-update-reviews-c-s-boyack-balroop-singh-and-patty-fletcher/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/22/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-debby-gies-and-another-dip-into-my-archives/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/24/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-jokes-from-the-archives-3/

Thank you again for being part of my week and for all your support.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Christmas – Weekly Update – Christmas parties, guest posts, books, Traditional Christmas menu and music.


Welcome to the weekly round up and I am sure that you are all in the middle of getting your own Christmas or holidays sorted. We have family staying this week and a dinner planned with visitors which we are looking forward to.

We actually tend to hibernate from Christmas Eve until New Year’s Day and it has become a tradition to drop whatever we are doing online (except for an hour a day – otherwise I get cranky)… and spend time together enjoying movies, meals out and laughing. Christmas is for family and we will be Skyping my sisters on the day, as they will be together for dinner in Portsmouth.

With just the two of us, we tend to not get a turkey and will be having aged sirloin steaks, chips, onion rings and ice-cream for our dinner. We might start with some scallops and prawns if I can find some fresh ones and any other of our favourite foods I can locate. A glass or two of good Spanish red and then a power nap I think before Quality Street and a rerun of one of the classic Christmas movies.

It has been a busy week with the Christmas book promotions and parties so I will stop chatting and get on with it.

As always very grateful to my regular contributors and you will find a couple of your favourites popping in over Christmas to entertain you. Including a four part story set in Japan by Writer in Residence Paul Andruss, who has taken time out from his writing sabbatical to share.

And thank you too for visiting, liking, commenting and sharing the post, it is much appreciated.

This week William Price King introduces us to the magical Alice Coltrane pianist and harpist.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/11/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-alice-coltrane-pianist-harpist/

Last week Carol Taylor delighted with her Vegetarian Christmas Menu.. and this week she created a feast for those of us who like some turkey for our dinner… with all the trimmings. An amazing amount of work and I am so grateful for all her efforts in the last 18 months.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/smorgasbord-christmas-celebrations-the-food-column-carol-taylor-traditional-christmas-menu/

Geoff Le Pard entertains with the second of his guest posts this Christmas…Traditions Le Pard Family Style

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/15/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-guest-post-hristmas-traditions-le-pard-family-style-by-geoff-le-pard/

Delighted to announce that from January Annette Rochelle Aben will be writing a new column for the blog.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-coming-in-january-2019-your-monthly-universal-energy-numerology-with-annette-rochelle-aben/

This week there are three prompts as part of Colleen Chesebro Poetry Challenge no. 114, 115, 116 as Colleen is going to be taking a well earned break.. So no recaps until early January. But Colleen has left you the prompts for those three weeks if you would like to continue with the series. I felt like going off piste this week.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-tuesday-poetry-challenge-off-piste-with-season-of-goodwill/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/10/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-for-christmas-fascinating-new-yorkers-power-freaks-mobsters-liberated-women-creators-queers-and-crazies-by-clifford-browder/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-for-christmas-alchemist-gift-alchemist-series-book-1-by-mark-d-giglio/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-for-christmas-romance-forgetting-my-way-back-to-you-by-karina-bartlow/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/10/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-collaborations-kim-blades-and-robbie-cheadle-john-w-howell-and-gwen-plano-jane-risdon-and-christina-jones/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-thrillers-short-stories-luna-saint-claire-jan-sikes-and-kristina-stanley/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-mystery-adventure-fantasy-andrew-joyce-daniel-kemp-teagan-riordain-geneviene-and-linda-g-hill/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-mysteries-and-satire-anita-dawes-christoph-fischer-sue-hampton-allan-hudson-and-ian-hutson/

Jessica Norrie

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-relationships-italy-scotland-mystery-with-leslie-tate-patricia-salamone-john-quinn-and-jessica-norrie/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-doglovers-romance-fantasy-poetry-patty-fletcher-miriam-hurdle-sandra-j-jackson-and-deborah-jay/

The First Day of Christmas with guests Mary Smith, Jacquie Biggar and John Howell sharing their most memorable Christmas gifts, with music, food and traditions from around the world.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/smorgasbord-christmas-celebrations-the-first-day-of-christmas-with-guests-mary-smith-jacquie-biggar-and-john-w-howell/

The Second Day of Christmas with special memories from Darlene Foster and Miriam Hurdle.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-the-second-day-of-christmas-with-guests-darlene-foster-and-miriam-hurdle/

The Third Day of Christmas with their most favourite Christmas gifts Jennie Fitzkee and Lisa Thomson

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/15/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-the-third-day-of-christmas-with-guests-jennie-fitzkee-and-lisa-thomson/

The Fourth Day of Christmas with guests Norah Colvin and Amy Reade sharing their most favourite gifts ever.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/16/smorgasbord-christmas-celebrations-the-fourth-day-of-christmas-with-guests-norah-colvin-and-amy-reade/

It is the season for Christmas parties and family gatherings and at this time of year there is the additional pleasure of getting kissed under the mistletoe – of course it all depends on who is doing the kissing, but having fresh breath before embarking on this lovely activity is essential.  Reach for the Peppermint

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/smorgasbord-health-column-heading-under-the-mistletoe-indigestion-reach-for-the-peppermint/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/11/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-time-to-get-the-party-started-christmas-funnies/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-christmas-fun-from-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-festive-joke-from-the-archives/

Thank you very much for visiting and hope you have enjoyed the Christmas celebrations.. more to come next week.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Poetry – In Remembrance – Herbert James Francis Walsh- 1887 – 1918 – A Grandfather


This time of year, I like to re-post the series The War Poets. Just some of the men and women who served on the front line on all sides of the conflict who fought, died or returned scarred by their experiences. If you scroll down the home page you will find them each day.

They went out at 4.a.m each morning my time, which is the coldest before the dawn, and as they would have woken in the trenches to prepare for another day of horror, bravery and sacrifice.

There is no way in the world that I would possibly compare my poetry to those extraordinary men and women who wrote their poetry following their own harrowing experiences. But I did want to add to the series with my own tribute to someone who lived and died during the First World War, and I this poem following my first visit to my grandfather’s grave in Northern France in 1998.

My mother was thirteen months old when her father was killed on November 2nd 1918. He was 31 years old and had been home for her birth following his third wound of the war since joining up in 1914. He had received this latest one when rescuing one of his officers from the front line. He received the Military Medal for his bravery.

He returned to the front when Mollie was six months old.  Her mother told her stories about him and that is the only thing that she could pass on as the few photographs she had were lost. I had been in touch with the Forces archives for some time, and they told me that all my grandfather’s records had been destroyed in a fire in the 1920s. However, in 2015, they let me know that some of the damaged documents had been restored and digitised and I was able to get my grandfather’s army records and also sadly a letter from my grandmother to the war office.

She had moved home with my mother who was just a year old. This meant that she was finally notified that he was missing in action as the crowds were celebrating the end of the war in the streets all over the country. For weeks she waited for news and had written the letter to try and find out if he was still alive. Only to be told that the death notification had been sent to her old address.

She would have been given the location of his grave but as a war widow with a young baby there was no way that she could go to France in those days.

The location of his grave in a small village of Poix du Nord in Northern France was only discovered by my sister Diana in the early 1990s and she and her husband took my mother shortly afterwards.

We visited again with my mother in 1998 when we were living about 70 kilometres away in Brussels. Standing there 80 years after his death it felt very emotional to imagine that this young man, Herbert James Francis Walsh, had died  so young but had still managed to  pass on his genes to those of us standing by his graveside, and since then to two more generations.

Requiem for a Grandfather By Sally Cronin

I know you through my mother’s words
Even though she was so small when you left.
Her mother told her of your life
And how your sacrifice left her bereft.

Born back in Victoria’s reign
An Irishman, black haired, tall smiling bright
You courted a builder’s daughter
It was love for both of you at first sight.

Came war and you were first in line
To stand and fight for your adopted land.
How proud you looked so tall and strong
As you marched to the docks, kit bag in hand.

A soldier and a hero too
You never once turned your back on duty.
But returned time and time again
Horror muted by a new born beauty.

When the remaining few came home
To parades, loved ones and welcoming arms.
You stayed behind to guard your men
As they lay amid the burnt out French farms.

Today you lie in foreign soil
Tended by strangers who honour your name.
But you also live here in hearts
And a young child’s face whose smile is the same.

Your brief life carries on in us
And on and on through generations strong.
So even far in the future
A child with your blue eyes will read this song.

©sallycronin1998

Thank you for visiting today… Sally.

Smorgasbord Poetry – In Remembrance – War Poets – Isaac Rosenberg 1890 – 1918


This time of year, I like to re-post the series The War Poets. Just some of the men and women who served on the front line on all sides of the conflict who fought, died or returned scarred by their experiences.

They are going out at 4.a.m each morning my time, which is the coldest before the dawn, and as they would have woken in the trenches to prepare for another day of horror, bravery and sacrifice.

War has always inspired writers to communicate their experiences and of those they stand side by side with. From Victorian times through to the Second World War when correspondents from the press and Pathe News provided images as well as words, poetry was the preferred medium.

Isaac Rosenberg

The last poet in this short series is Isaac Rosenberg born in November 1890 to Dovber and his wife, Russian Jewish immigrants who found their way to England. His father was a highly educated and devout man, but to support his family in their new life he had to turn to more hand’s on work. He became a pedlar and he and his wife and family of now six children, moved to London in the late 1800’s so the eldest boy, Isaac could take advantage of a better education within the Jewish community.

An accomplished water-colourist, Isaac left school at fourteen and attended an art school in Stepney Green, supported by the Jewish Education Aid Society and private donations. He then moved to Fleet Street as an apprentice engraver until 1911. He then enrolled at the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art where he studied painting and indulged another passion which was writing poetry. Unfortunately, whilst his artwork received good reviews, his poetry appeared to fall on deaf ears.

His health at this time also deteriorated as he suffered respiratory problems and fearing he might have contracted TB he took off for South Africa where his sister lived. He spent nearly a year in Cape Town, where he lectured on art and actually managed to have some of his poetry published. He returned to the UK in February 1915 and although very short and slight and under the 5’3” height requirement for the army at the time, he joined a specially formed regiment called the ‘Bantams’.

He was posted to the Somme with his regiment and he was to spend the remainder of his life in the trenches. It was here in this dark place that he wrote his best poetry including my chosen piece today – Break of Day in the Trenches.

He was killed on 1st of April, 1918 by a German raiding party. He was buried in a mass grave and until 1926 his headstone in the military cemetery guarded an empty grave. His friends arranged for his poems – Collected Works – published in 1922.

Isaac Rosenberg, Break of Day in the Trenches (1916)

The darkness crumbles away.
It is the same old druid Time as ever,
Only a live thing leaps my hand,
A queer sardonic rat,
As I pull the parapet’s poppy
To stick behind my ear.
Droll rat, they would shoot you if they knew
Your cosmopolitan sympathies.
Now you have touched this English hand
You will do the same to a German
Soon, no doubt, if it be your pleasure
To cross the sleeping green between.
It seems you inwardly grin as you pass
Strong eyes, fine limbs, haughty athletes,
Less chanced than you for life,
Bonds to the whims of murder,
Sprawled in the bowels of the earth,
The torn fields of France.
What do you see in our eyes
At the shrieking iron and flame
Hurled through still heavens ?
What quaver – what heart aghast?
Poppies whose roots are in man’s veins
Drop, and are ever dropping;
But mine in my ear is safe –
Just a little white with the dust.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Rosenberg
https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/isaac-rosenberg
http://www.warpoets.org/poets/isaac-rosenberg-1890-1918/

You can now buy the Collected Works of Isaac Rosenberg for Kindle: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Collected-Poems-Isaac-Rosenberg-ebook/dp/B005F9UYIE

Thank you for dropping in today and of course I would love your feedback.. Tomorrow a poem in remembrance of my own grandfather 1887 – 1918.

Smorgasbord Poetry – Remembrance – The War Poets – Siegfried Loraine Sassoon CBE, MC (8 September 1886 – 1 September 1967)


This time of year, I like to re-post the series The War Poets. Just some of the men and women who served on the front line on all sides of the conflict who fought, died or returned scarred by their experiences.

They are going out at 4.a.m each morning my time, which is the coldest before the dawn, and as they would have woken in the trenches to prepare for another day of horror, bravery and sacrifice.

Siegfried Sassoon

Considered one of the leading poets of the First World War, Siegfried Sassoon led what was considered to be an unconventional life in some respects but there is no uncertainty about his stance on war and the inglorious nature of conflict on and off the battlefied.

Image by George Charles Beresford.

Siegfried Sassoon came from a privileged background and spent the years before the war enjoying a rather idyllic lifestyle as part of the country set. He had the luxury of time and when not fox hunting he indulged in his other passion which was poetry. He self-published several collections from 1906 which did not really ignite the passions of the critics but all this came to an end with the outbreak of war.

Siegfried became an angry young man and refused to lace his poetry with the glory and honour that some of his contemporaries attempted to do. He signed up for the Royal Welch Fusiliers and saw action in France. In 1915 he was awarded the Military Cross for rescuing a fellow soldier under heavy fire but this did nothing to dampen his contempt for his superior officers and his poetry was honest and brutal.

He was wounded in action and he wrote a stinging letter to the war department refusing to fight anymore. Bertrand Russell persuaded parliament that the letter should be read out in the House of Commons and Siegfried waited to be arrested and court-martialled. Luckily another friend, Robert Graves intervened and persuaded the army that Siegfried was suffering from shell-shock. Rather than the expected prison he was hospitalised in 1917.

After the war Siegfried Sassoon published an amazing work consisting of 64 poems titled The War Poems of Siegfried Sassoon. Not all who read his work appreciated his sentiments and he was labelled anti-patriotic and others were shocked by his realistic portrayal of life in the trenches. However, by this time many of those who had returned had also shared their stories and the British public bought his book in recognition of the truth of his words.

After the war Siegfried Sassoon continued to support his belief that the war would have ended sooner if not for the incompetence of the politicians and the generals. He did not just write about his opinions but also took action by becoming involved in the Labour Party and lecturing on pacifism. His most renowned work of the period was a trilogy of autobiographical novels The Memoirs of George Sherston.

I have chosen a poem that I feel epitomises Siegfried Sassoon’s stark view of life and death in the trenches.

The Working Party.

Three hours ago he blundered up the trench,
Sliding and poising, groping with his boots;
Sometimes he tripped and lurched against the walls
With hands that pawed the sodden bags of chalk.
He couldn’t see the man who walked in front;
Only he heard the drum and rattle of feet
Stepping along barred trench boards, often splashing
Wretchedly where the sludge was ankle-deep.

Voices would grunt `Keep to your right — make way!’
When squeezing past some men from the front-line:
White faces peered, puffing a point of red;
Candles and braziers glinted through the chinks
And curtain-flaps of dug-outs; then the gloom
Swallowed his sense of sight; he stooped and swore
Because a sagging wire had caught his neck.

A flare went up; the shining whiteness spread
And flickered upward, showing nimble rats
And mounds of glimmering sand-bags, bleached with rain;
Then the slow silver moment died in dark.
The wind came posting by with chilly gusts
And buffeting at the corners, piping thin.
And dreary through the crannies; rifle-shots
Would split and crack and sing along the night,
And shells came calmly through the drizzling air
To burst with hollow bang below the hill.

Three hours ago, he stumbled up the trench;
Now he will never walk that road again:
He must be carried back, a jolting lump
Beyond all needs of tenderness and care.

He was a young man with a meagre wife
And two small children in a Midland town,
He showed their photographs to all his mates,
And they considered him a decent chap
Who did his work and hadn’t much to say,
And always laughed at other people’s jokes
Because he hadn’t any of his own.

That night when he was busy at his job
Of piling bags along the parapet,
He thought how slow time went, stamping his feet
And blowing on his fingers, pinched with cold.
He thought of getting back by half-past twelve,
And tot of rum to send him warm to sleep
In draughty dug-out frowsty with the fumes
Of coke, and full of snoring weary men.

He pushed another bag along the top,
Craning his body outward; then a flare
Gave one white glimpse of No Man’s Land and wire;
And as he dropped his head the instant split
His startled life with lead, and all went out.

Buy Siegfried Sassoon’s work : http://www.amazon.com/Siegfried-Sassoon/e/B001HD05RC

To find out more about this extraordinary man and writer here are some links.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siegfried_Sassoon
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/sassoon_siegfried.shtml
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/siegfried-sassoon

Thank you for dropping by and look forward to your feedback.  Sally