Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Poem published in YCN

 View of city geese last summer. We're all still waiting for the trail to re-open.

Flight Path
By Janet Sobczyk, 2019

I’m a lousy bird watcher
can’t claim to know much about them
seldom use binoculars
don’t keep a record of birds seen in my lifetime
can’t tell a bird by its call
but their sounds and movements fascinate me. 

At our old home I placed a feeder in a pine tree
nestled between boughs next to a window
sparrows gathered, flitting branch to branch
waiting turns impatiently
scared off by a loud jay or acrobatic squirrel
delightful entertainment.

New home, same feeders, placed in an ash tree
attract different entertainers
black and white woodpeckers with red caps
pink-breasted tiny blue birds I can’t identify
cardinal couples
and squirrels I’ve named.

Another new delight… geese!
Not attracted to the feeders
but residents of this part of town
their squawks distinctive 
capture my attention through closed windows 
a wonderful sound.

Early in the morning they make a v-line
rising from roosting grounds
to stretch wings, find food, socialize 
as humans head off to work 
geese begin the day 
heading south over my house.

At day’s end they commute home
pass my way again heading north
routine predictable
could set my watch by them
pause to listen, watch
it’s pleasant living under a flight path.

See the February issue of Your Country Neighbor that this poem appears in.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Not a Total Loss

This story about my two daughters' t-boned vehicles, appeared in Your Country Neighbor  this week

Not a Total Loss
By Janet Sobczyk, 2017

Time to clean out the car. It should have been no big deal.

The repairman directed us to the back lot and brought out the key. He removed the plates from my daughter’s t-boned, black Prius as she unloaded her possessions from the interior. An ice scraper, blanket, registration papers, sunglasses. Andrea left the empty coffee cup in the holder. Its mocha brown contents stained the passenger floor.

She turned to me and I hugged her, tears welling up. Sadness clouded our faces at the loss of her first, self-paid car. The insurance company deemed it a total loss, but she yearned to have it repaired and returned to our driveway.

My tears were a mixture of sadness and relief. I knew how fortunate she was to walk away with only whiplash. The t-boned car next to hers had suffered much worse, and so had its owner. The door smashed far into the driver’s seat. The fabric streaked with a dried substance, much darker than a latte. I turned away with a shudder, to load her things into my van.

As I walked past the line of crushed cars, a flashback took me to a similar lot, several years ago. The sight of my oldest daughter’s smashed silver Santa Fe. She, too, walked away with whiplash, from a head-on collision. The other driver had led police on a high-speed car chase through Kansas City and ran off after the crash, with the police in hot pursuit. Meanwhile, paramedics checked Carolyn, an innocent bystander on her way to work. The tow truck driver kindly offered her a ride home.

As we traveled from Omaha to KC to be with her, news of the chase permeated the radio broadcasts. My stomach lurched at each replay of the event until we could see she would be okay.

My mind raced back to her other t-boned vehicle, a black Mazda. That time a plumbing truck didn’t stop at the red light. Its driver was heading into the setting sun and talking on his cell phone.

Three vehicles totaled. Three times our girls walked away. Three miracles. I cried with gratitude. Then wiped my tears to drive Andrea to work. She pointed out the row of waiting, crumpled vehicles. “Look! They’re all either black or silver!” Just like the three cars we lost.

Without a doubt, the next one we buy will be… red!

Postscript: Andrea's new car is a bright blue. And Carolyn bought a tan one. Good enough!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Christmas Tree Goes on a Diet

My blog's featured post this month was the first draft of a poem recently revised and published in the December Your Country Neighbor. Both the blog and publication include before and after photos of our Christmas tree. This far into the holiday season, with all of its sweet temptations, I'm already planning my next diet, too.

Christmas Tree Goes on a Diet
by Janet Sobczyk, 2018

Dressed in green
bedecked in red bling
white lights, white angel
carols in the air
eggnog for sweet sipping
multicolored presents
invited children to shake and peek.

Years passed
angel perch broke
children grew
long legs needed space
a tree so full and fat
hardly fit the room
time to buy a new one.

Brought it home
dressed it the same
stood back, admired
new tree was much thinner
seems over the summer
dear old tree
went on a diet!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Missing Him

Missing Him

A memorial poem
by Janet Sobczyk, 2018

She wandered the house, looking
for him, lost, alone.

He’s gone, she didn’t understand
why, why was he taken?

She laid down, weary
with grief, sleeping the day away.

His scent lingered, drawn to it
at night, waiting for him to return.

She knew he was ill, fading
into a skeleton, barely able to eat.

Everyone thought, she’d go
first from the stroke, but she rebounded.

 He succumbed, nothing
could be done, it was over.

Lacey mourned her constant
companion, her litter mate, Tanner.

Lacey and Tanner holding paws.

Lacey alone.

Postscript... Lacey mourned Tanner less than 2 months before joining him. 
It's hard to lose two beloved dogs in such a short time.

Monday, July 9, 2018

In July YCN published "Trespassing" and "De-feathering My Nest." Thanks for allowing me so much space, Editor Stephen Hassler! 

"Trespassing" is my blog's featured post this month, but "De-feathering My Nest" is too long to reprint here.
Please check out the complete issue online at:

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Poems published in YCN in June

The June issue of Your Country Neighbor contains 2 of my poems:

This is a syllabic poem (3 per line.) When I tapped it out upon completion, it reminded me of the hoof beats of a galloping horse. I'd like to say that was intentional, but it wasn't. I just like to write that way sometimes. But for this poem it's appropriate!

They Feel Like Summer
by Janet Sobczyk, ©2017

Buff leather
two-inch heels
finger loops
pointy toes
bring to mind
days of youth.

Sweet sixteen
cut-off jeans
halter tops
no sunscreen
wind in hair
horse-back rides.

Middle age
walking tall
with tan dog
slower now
wearing new
cowboy boots.

The next poem, in couplets, was written after a drive to the store recently. It was a windy day and when I stopped for a red light I noticed this scene. It stuck with me, so I had to write it down. 

Wind on the Wire
by Janet Sobczyk, ©2018

Three brown birds
perch on an electric wire

two snuggle close
one stays inches away

all cling fast, feet clasp
holding on

facing the wind
wings firmly folded

gray tail feathers dip
enduring the gusts

weathering the storm
riding like bronco busters.

I wonder, Why stay?
Why don’t they find shelter?

Maybe they enjoy the thrill-ride
of wind on the wire.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Poems published in YCN in May

These 2 poems appear in the May issue of Your Country Neighbor. I love the spider and flag photos that accompany them, as well as all the other poetry.  Check it out!

The Irony of Spider Webs
by Janet Sobczyk, ©2011

Sometimes I stand in wonder
at the spider web
woven overnight
between car and bush. 
I stop to examine it, 
sturdy and sticky enough
to catch the largest insects,
but dainty and sparkly, 
beautiful, symmetrical.
Could easily be ruined
by the swipe of a mean broom.

Sometimes I simply marvel
at the swift acrobatics
and skill of the small spider
who crafted this masterpiece,
and rests at the far edge
waiting for food to be snared,
then springs into action
like a small cowboy roping,
wrapping the victim in silk.
I ponder the poor fly’s plight…
it is the circle of life.

Sometimes I don’t see the web,
and walk right through it! 
It stretches beyond limits,
instantly adheres to skin.
I cringe from the shock of it,
dance around peeling strands
in sheer disgust.
The invisible silk sticks
in hair, on fingers.
Recoil in fear, just think… 
the spider might be on me!

At a Veteran’s Graveside Service 
By Janet Sobczyk ©2017 
In memory of Tom Otto of Norfolk, NE.

We step amid headstones, through parallel rows
a motorcycle honor guard in Harley vests
holds stars and stripes on long poles.

Mourners gather under a green canvas tent
with bowed heads we listen to a final blessing
carried away by the wind.

With focus downward, I notice shoes:
brown penny loafers
white shiny flats

black stilettos digging divots
blue sandals with matching toenails
tan boots with camo pants tucked in.

A yellow butterfly weaves on the breeze
amidst legs, alights on flowers
cascading over the casket.

“Taps” begins to play
but the bugle sounds tinny
I turn to see a seasoned vet in dress blues.

Holding horn to lips with white-gloved hand
he isn’t playing
it’s a recording.

When done he lowers the bugle
discreetly turns off device in its bell
and salutes.

A son of the vet takes roses off the casket
hands them to women with hugs and tears
the crowd disperses.

Car doors slam
tires crunch on gravel
as the line snakes through the gate.

At home, my red rose
stands silently in a simple vase
and wilts.