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:

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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… book on the shelves

Author update

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.

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.

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

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

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.

Jessica Norrie

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.

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

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

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

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

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.


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 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: