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.


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.

You can now buy the Collected Works of Isaac Rosenberg for Kindle:

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 :

To find out more about this extraordinary man and writer here are some links.

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


Smorgasbord Poetry Remembrance – The War Poets – Edmund Blunden

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.

I would never glorify war – I see it as greed and a failure of diplomacy. Someone wants power, land, money, oil, mineral wealth etc and is unwilling to compromise or listen to reason and chooses to just take it. When diplomacy fails as it often does, those that are forced to defend their rights or territory turn to their young men and in modern times, women to fight the good fight. It never seems to end, which is why reminding ourselves from time to time about their sacrifice is both respectful and hopefully a thought provoking exercise.

As the war poet today describes – war does not end for those who have fought when a treaty has been signed; it will continue in their lives forever.


Edmund Blunden was a poet, literary editor, journalist, biographer and lecturer, travelling and teaching in England, Japan and Hong Kong. He was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford University in 1966. He died in 1974 aged 78 having left behind an incredible legacy of work that in my mind is one of the most vivid recollections of the First World War.

He was studying Classics at Queen’s College Oxford but like so many of his age, he abandoned academic life in 1915 and joined the 11th Royal Sussex Regiment. He saw active service almost immediately at Givenchy and later at the Somme. He won the Military Cross for ‘conspicuous gallantry in action’ after a near suicidal mission under enemy shelling. From late 1916 he was with the regiment in Ypres until January 1918 when they returned to the Somme.

The two poems I have chosen are very different. The first At Sawnlees Once’ is poignant as it describes a brief moment of respite from the chaos. A barn on a farm where women are working and all appears normal. An oasis of crops and chickens and a simple barn where safety and a chance to forget the war for a few brief hours was so precious.

At Sawnlees Once

How comely it was and how reviving,
When with clay and with death no longer striving
Down firm roads we came to houses
With women chattering and green grass thriving.

Now though rains in a cataract descended,
We could glow, with our tribulation ended–
Count not days, the present only
Was thought of, how could it ever be expended?

Clad so cleanly, this remnant of poor wretches
Picked up life like the hens in orchard ditches,
Gazed on the mill-sails, heard the church-bell,
Found an honest glass all manner of riches.

How they crowded the barn with lusty laughter,
Hailed the Pierrots and shook each shadowy rafter,
Even could ridicule their own sufferings,
Sang as though nothing but joy came after!

The second poem ‘Can you Remember’ is after the war – not written until 1928 when it was only becoming clear the long term effect those devastating years had on the young men of all nations who fought and survived. It is clear that for the vast majority, the war did not end, but remained in their minds and hearts their whole lives.

Can You Remember?

Yes, I still remember
The whole thing in a way;
Edge and exactitude
Depend upon the day.

Of all that prodigious scene
There seems scanty loss,
Though mists mainly float and screen
Canal, spire and fosse;

Though commonly I fail to name
That once obvious Hill,
And where we went, and whence we came
To be killed, or kill.

Those mists are spiritual
And luminous-obscure,
Evolved of countless circumstance
Of which I am sure;

Of which, at the instance
Of sound, smell, change and stir,
New-old shapes for ever
Intensely recur.

And some are sparkling, laughing, singing,
Young, heroic, mild;
And some incurable, twisted,
Shrieking, dumb, defiled.

Buy Edmund Blunden:


Thank you for dropping in and your feedback is always welcome. Sally

Smorgasbord Poetry – In Remembrance – The War Poets – Rupert Brooke – 1897 – 1915

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.

We often dismiss the words of the young due to their lack of life experience. However there was no such lack in the lives of the youthful poets who experienced the dreadful events of the First and Second World War

Poetry has played an enormous role in our history particularly when telling the stories of heroes and heroines through the ages. Very popular during Victorian times, verse was used prolifically to proclaim love, poke fun at politicians and big wigs as well as to honour bravery in service to Queen and Country. Poetry was as widely read as novels and in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, a number of our most well-known poets were born producing some of our most loved verses.

I am by no means a poetry expert but I have found that verse is very individual and that you enjoy those pieces which reflect events and emotions in your own life.

For example; as a teenager I found a book of Rupert Brooke’s poems on a bookshelf at home and there were one or two at that age that I understood and enjoyed. However, as I have got older and revisited his work and other poets, I realise that my own life’s experience enables me to appreciate their work in a more profound way. Although Rupert Brooks is best known perhaps for his war poems such as The Soldier, there are others that also reflect his experiences of love and life beautifully, despite his own youth.

Like many of the poets of the first part of the 20th century Rupert Brooke was caught between the Victorian strait laced puritanism and the liberal 20’s. He was a bit of a jack the lad, considered an Adonis by both men and women. In his short life he loved both; mainly those within the growing social and intellectual societies such as the Fabians.

Anyway a little biography of this talented young poet.

Rupert Chawner Brooke was born on 3rd August 1887 second son to William Parker Brooke a housemaster at Rugby school and his wife Ruth Cotterill. Rupert attended both the preparatory and main schools before going up to King’s College, Cambridge where he studied the classics, somewhat badly, as he was more interested in literature and acting. At the end of his third year he turned his attention to literature and moved out of Cambridge to Grantchester. Here he and his circle of friends embraced the country life whilst developing interest politics and in the growing socialist reforms as members of the “Fabian Society”.

In 1911 Rupert spent time in Munich learning German before returning to Grantchester to work on his fellowship at King’s. At the same time he completed his first volume of Poems which in the next 20 years was reprinted 37 times at around 100,000 copies.

Two poems that reflected his life in Grantchester was Dining Room Tea and The Old Vicarage Grantchester but for my first poem I have chosen Kindliness. I loved this poem as a teenager although I could not conceive that one day I would in my sixties and look at love and poetry with a little more understanding.


When love has changed to kindliness —
Oh, love, our hungry lips, that press
So tight that Time’s an old god’s dream
Nodding in heaven, and whisper stuff
Seven million years were not enough
To think on after, make it seem
Less than the breath of children playing,
A blasphemy scarce worth the saying,
A sorry jest, “When love has grown
To kindliness — to kindliness!” . . .
And yet — the best that either’s known
Will change, and wither, and be less,
At last, than comfort, or its own
Remembrance. And when some caress
Tendered in habit (once a flame
All heaven sang out to) wakes the shame
Unworded, in the steady eyes
We’ll have, — that day, what shall we do?
Being so noble, kill the two
Who’ve reached their second-best? Being wise,
Break cleanly off, and get away.
Follow down other windier skies
New lures, alone? Or shall we stay,
Since this is all we’ve known, content
In the lean twilight of such day,
And not remember, not lament?
That time when all is over, and
Hand never flinches, brushing hand;
And blood lies quiet, for all you’re near;
And it’s but spoken words we hear,
Where trumpets sang; when the mere skies
Are stranger and nobler than your eyes;
And flesh is flesh, was flame before;
And infinite hungers leap no more
In the chance swaying of your dress;
And love has changed to kindliness

In 1913 Rupert was finally awarded his Fellowship at King’s but did not take it up immediately choosing to travel to New York, Canada, San Francisco and New Zealand before settling on Tahiti; living with a Tahitian beauty Taatamata.

However, running out of money and suffering from a bad infection from coral poisoning, Rupert returned to England in mid-1914. He took up his fellowship at King’s but his idealism gained new focus with the onset of War. On September 15th he applied and was accepted for a commission in the Royal Naval Division and embarked with his battalion to defend Antwerp from the German Advance.

Antwerp fell to the Germans and the battalion returned to England and over the next three months Brooke’s company re-equipped and despite a period of illness Rupert embarked on a ship to the Dardanelles on February 27th 1915. Over the next two months the battalion spent time in Malta, Lemnos and Eygpt as they attempted to reach the front.

Rupert suffered another bout of ill health including sunstroke and dysentery. Senior officers, aware of his growing fame as both a poet and potential influential politician, decided he should be kept away from the front lines, offering him a staff job that he refused.

On Saturday 10th April 1915, Brooke’s troopship left Port Said for Lemnos via the Island of Skyros. They arrived there on Saturday 17th April, The officers and men landed on Skyros and conducted exercises but on 20th April Rupert Brooke fell seriously ill with blood poisoning. His system already weakened by several bouts of infection he could not overcome this latest illness, and on April 23rd he died aboard ship aged 27.

He had commented on the beauty and peace of a particular olive grove on the island and was buried there by his fellow officers amongst the scent of flowering sage.


The poem The Soldier has stood the test of time and is as evocative today as it was nearly 100 years ago. Especially as we prepare to  honour the young men and women who have served and died. Not only for our own countries, but all those in any conflict around the world.

1914 V: The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Buy Rupert Brooke collections of poetry via Amazon:

Find out more about Rupert Brooke

Photo of Rupert Brooke by Sherrill Schell

Thank you for dropping by. Sally

Smorgasbord Poetry – In Remembrance – The War Poets – Vera Brittain

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.

We often dismiss the words of the young due to their lack of life experience. However there was no such lack in the lives of the youthful poets who experienced the dreadful events of the First and Second World War. Today a woman who lived through both of these conflicts and lost ones that she loved.


Vera Brittain

The first poet in the series on the War Poets is a woman, Vera Brittain, feminist, poet and novelist, who was born in Newcastle under Lyme on 29 December 1893, and was raised in Macclesfield and Buxton. Educated at St. Monica’s School and Somerville College, Oxford. She left to serve as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse (VAD) during the First World war, being posted to France and Malta. Vera became engaged during the war, in 1915, to Roland Leighton but sadly he was killed by a sniper in December of that year. Tragically she was also to lose her brother Edward in 1918 and two other very close friends.

Following the end of the war, Vera returned to Oxford to read history, and worked briefly as a teacher before devoting her time to writing. By now a committed pacifist, she was involved with the Peace Pledge Union until her death, and served as vice-president of the national Peace Council, campaigning for peace during the Second World War.

Her first poetry was published in August 1919, Verses of a V.A.D, containing a poem dedicated to Edward, To My Brother. Her first novel, The Dark Tide, was published in 1923.

In 1925 Vera married George C.G. Catlin a political scientist and they moved to New York for a year to live. Her famous memoir Testament of Youth was published in 1933, a story of ‘the lost generation’. The book also recounted her wartime experiences and her marriage to George C.G. Catlin.

Vera Brittain died in Wimbledon on 29 March 1970. Her ashes were sprinkled over her brother Edward’s grave in Italy, where he died. I have chosen her poem The Superflouous Woman because I think it reflects the enormity of the loss of nearly a whole generation of young men who died in the First World War and the millions of young women at the end of the conflict, who lost not only their boyfriends and husbands, but in many cases the chance of every finding love again.


Ghosts crying down the vistas of the years,
Recalling words
Whose echoes long have died,
And kind moss grown
Over the sharp and blood-bespattered stones
Which cut our feet upon the ancient ways.
But who will look for my coming?

Long busy days where many meet and part;
Crowded aside
Remembered hours of hope;
And city streets
Grown dark and hot with eager multitudes
Hurrying homeward whither respite waits.
But who will seek me at nightfall?

Light fading where the chimneys cut the sky;
Footsteps that pass,
Nor tarry at my door.
And far away,
Behind the row of crosses, shadows black
Stretch out long arms before the smouldering sun.
But who will give me my children?

A small selection of Vera Brittain’s work.


Buy Vera Brittain’s books.

Sources and for more information and the work of Vera Brittain.

Thank you for dropping by Sally


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Halloween Party, Harp in Jazz, Garlic and Book Gifts for a Daughter (everyone)

Welcome to the weekly round up of posts you might have missed.

It is unlikely that you missed the fact that it was Halloween….and certainly it was pretty horrific around here on Thursday with plenty of spooky goings-on.. Thanks to those who dressed up and participated and to everyone who dropped in and played along.

My husband cut off my head (from a photograph and created a costume for me..Like all supermodels there was a fair bit of air-brushing (well quite a bit actually) and I am afraid I am back to my original body shape again. It was fun whilst it lasted.

Here they are along with the fabulous guests in their fancy dress magnificence…

There is still some left overs, music to dance too and enough Bloody Mary frozen to keep us going until next Halloween….

My thanks as always to the contributors to the blog who share their expertise, experience and effort to create amazing posts.

This week William Price King shares the life and career of Dorothy Ashby who was one of the few harpists to play jazz. Normally associated with classical music, this was not the only barrier that this talented musician broke through.

I am sharing some of the Cook from Scratch posts that Carol Taylor and I collaborated on last year. And since it was Halloween... it seemed appropriate to give you plenty of reasons to liberally consume onions and garlic…to keep the vampires and the doctor away


At this time of year, as we start to think about gifts for Christmas, we turn to books. But picking the right book for the person you are buying for is an art. Jessica Norrie shares the books that she has gifted her daughter….

Joy Lennick shares the fun and games of entertaining a small house guest…

Personal posts

Musicians have voiced their protest for governments, wars, inequality for centuries, sometimes camouflaged with pretty words and secret codes that were only recognised by those within an inner circle.

Meet Queenie who finds new purpose in her life following the death of her husband.

Meet Rosemary – The First Date

Colleen Chesebro #Poetry Challenge -#Tanka

Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves.

Cafe and Bookstore – Update

The first of two posts on Arthritis. This week Rheumatoid arthritis that takes its toll on organs of the body.

Jacqui Murray, One Spoiled Cat, Callum McLauhglin

Alison Williams, Beetley Pete, D.G. Kaye..

C.S. Boyack, Lisa Burton, Robbie Cheadle, Annette Rochelle Aben, Sue Vincent with Dorinda Duclos

Halloween Special with contributions from D.G. Kaye.. Debby Gies

Guest comedian D.G. Kaye shares some funnies she has discovered recently.

I hope you have enjoyed the recap and will join me again next week. I will be starting the Christmas promotional posts soon and news of a few more opportunities to party….Thanks for all your support.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Poetry – #Tanka for Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 108, “Afraid & Grave,” #SynonymsOnly

This week being Halloween, Colleen Chesebro Poetry Challenge no. 108 has two words Afraid and Grave that we find #synonyms for to use in a Haiku, Tanka, Etheree etc.


Hi! I’m glad to see you here. Are you ready to write some syllabic poetry?
HERE’S THE CATCH: You can’t use the prompt words! SYNONYMS ONLY! Except for the first challenge of the month ~ then, the poets get to choose their own words. ❤

I hope you will support the other poets with visits to blogs and leaving comments. Sharing each other’s work on social media is always nice too.

PLEASE NOTE: This challenge is for Tanka, Haiku, Senryu, Haibun, and Cinquain, and Etheree poetry forms. Freestyle rhyming poetry is not part of this challenge. Thank you. ❤

This week I thought I would try my hand at a Tanka since it is not a form I have used before. I will need to explore further but here is my effort.

If you would like to participate in this week’s challenge you can find all the details in Colleen’s very informative and helpful post… a word of warning.. it becomes addictive:


You will also find notes on how to form a Tanka on another of Colleen’s pages:



Smorgasbord Poetry – Guest Poet – Celtic Roots by Joy Lennick

Delighted to welcome author and poet Joy Lennick as a guest again with a poem celebrating her Celtic heritage.

Celtic Roots by Joy Lennick

Little, then…did I know, when quietly –
on tippy-toe –
hardly breathing les’ I missed
call of cuckoo –
sight through mist…
of shy rabbit, other nature-kissed…
wonders of ‘my’ wood –
that Druids many years ago,armed with golden sickles,
harvested the mistletoe
from nearby sacred woods.

Little, then…did I know, when noisily –
with jug in hand –
picked fruit, ripe and fat,
juicy, luscious, almost black;
carefree, happy, sun on back,
mesmerized with my task –
that, long ago, warrior bands
fought and bloodied, raped this pleasant land:
Land of my mother

©Joy Lennick

About Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my current faction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…

A selection of books by Joy Lennick

One of the reviews for My Gentle War

May 23, 2014 Pat Mcdonald rated it really liked it

Aptly titled, this is a delightful little book, that tells the story of one child’s experience of war and evacuation. It brought back so many memories for me, not of that time period, but of my childhood. So many wonderful similarities around the characters – e.g my grandmother cut and buttered bread in the same fashion. I found myself enchanted by this period in history and descriptions of the blitz and how people survived it in a compelling an human way. Loved it!  

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon US:

Find all the books, read other reviews and follow Joy on Goodreads:

Connect to Joy


Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that Joy would love to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Poetry – Guest Writer – The Land of the Dead by Balroop Singh

My guest writer today is author and poet Balroop Singh, with what I think is a very relevant poem. We should all rise up and listen to the call….

The Land of the Dead

They lived in the land of the dead
Nodding to whatever was said
Muttering to themselves…
‘His word is law…he is the lord
A God sent messiah…
He has given us all’.

Content with their muted state
Always ready to bite the bait.
They crept into their graves
And the institution thrived.
The devil exulted at his success
The dead never speak, he surmised.

Someone entered the land of the dead
Dragged life along ahead
Stirred them out of their slumber
But before muffled voices
Could be heard, he was yelled at
Cursed, chastised, forced to quit

Could anyone force out fortitude?
Could he ever be booed?
When people learn to understand
Submission to injustice
Is akin to living
In self-created graves…

They wake up before it is too late
Speak out their mind with berate
Break the fetters of intimidation
Rise from the graves and look around
The sun is shining splendidly
And they are still alive!

© Balroop Singh
All rights reserved.

Here is Balroop’s  latest release Timeless Echoes, Poetry for young adults and teens.

About Timeless Echoes

Certain desires and thoughts remain within our heart, we can’t express them, we wait for the right time, which never comes till they make inroads out of our most guarded fortresses to spill on to the pages of our choice. This collection is an echo of that love, which remained obscure, those yearnings that were suppressed, the regrets that we refuse to acknowledge. Many poems seem personal because they are written in first person but they have been inspired from the people around me – friends and acquaintances who shared their stories with me.

Some secrets have to remain buried because they are ours
We do share them but only with the stars
The tears that guarded them were as precious as flowers
Soothing like balm on festering scars.

While there are no boxes for grief and joy, some persons in our life are more closely associated with these emotions. Their separation shatters us, their memories echo, we grieve but life does not stagnate for anyone…it is more like a river that flows despite the boulders. When imagination and inspiration try to offer solace, poetry that you are about to read springs forth.

An extract from one of the reviews for the collection from Goodreads

Aug 21, 2018 Lisa Thomson rated it Five Stars.

I absolutely love to disappear into a delectable poem and Balroop’s book was a delightful treat. From light to dark, moody to loving—you can find quite the variety of emotions in Timeless Echoes. Although it’s hard to pick just one, my favorite in the collection is “Did I Lie?”

Balroop Singh is a talented author and poet, and if you crave an emotional fusion of words that linger long after your eyes have left the page, you’ll want to get your copy of Timeless Echoes. I’ll be revisiting this collection for years to come.

Head over and buy the collection:

And on Amazon UK:

Also by Balroop Singh

Read the reviews and buy the books:

and Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on Goodreads:

About Balroop Singh

Balroop Singh, a former teacher, an educationalist, a blogger, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart.

She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. She lives in Danville, California.

Connect to Balroop Singh.