Saturday, June 13, 2020

"Grandma's Library" published in June YCN

Grandma's Library
By Janet Sobczyk, 2020

“If you build it they will come” 
says a movie quote that’s wise 
but for my new home 
not a Field of Dreams did I devise 
but a space for grandchildren 
someday, to play and read. 

Built before the first was born 
white shelves with books old and new
 tubs for toys, a rocking horse
 a rack with dress-up clothes, too 
while visions of happy children
 danced through Grandma’s head.

Friday, June 5, 2020

NWG Author Chat interview and poetry reading

Thanks for tuning in to the live show! 
If you missed it you can still view it on Youtube (click here).

Interviewer Victorine Lieske and  guest Janet Sobczyk on NWG Author Chat, 6-4-2020.

I want to thank best-selling author/interviewer Victorine Lieske 
for making this a fun experience.
 Also, a big hug of gratitude to everyone who asked questions, made comments on Facebook, and sent me encouraging texts. 
I had fun! Hope you did, too.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

"Spring Plays Peek-a-Boo" published in YCN, May 2020

Photo by Stephen Hassler, editor of Your Country Neighbor

Spring Plays Peek-a-Boo
By Janet Sobczyk, 2020

The weather is a popular topic for people all over the country, but I suspect Midwesterners can one-up most weather conversations.  In the Midwest we have four distinct seasons which change not only every few months but often several times a day. I’m not sure other parts of the country have those bragging rights.  

I was born in Arizona and my weather memories there range from sunny and warm to sunny and beastly hot. I remember one December there was a trace of snow that melted immediately. Everybody in the neighborhood was outside snapping black and white photos.  

Here in the Midwest we know what to expect from three out of four of the seasons. In summer it’s hot or stormy. In fall it’s crisp and beautiful or rainy and gray. In winter it’s long, cold, and can be measured in inches.  

During winter there can be a day or two of spring-like weather, usually in February. Then the next day a blizzard strikes and people grumble because they had false hope that it would be spring soon. But spring plays games with us. All through March and April it peeks in to make an appearance… and then winter hip-bumps it off the stage. Spring doesn’t give up. It sneaks around the curtain and tries to steal the spotlight, until jealous winter notices again. The game is on!  

In spring people are excited to plant flowers and gardens, but don’t be fooled! There’s a rule that I’ve ignored too often: wait until after Mother’s Day to do the planting. I’ve thought that a few warm days in a row were the start of spring. Time to plant my geraniums and put away the parkas! Two days later, “Wrong again,” I think, making a mad dash to bring in the flowers and dig out the coats.  

I’ve seen people leave the house in shorts and flip flops in March and April after a couple nice days, thinking it would be hot by noon. Nope! At the end of the day they come home to make soup and wear fuzzy socks with flannel pj’s for a few more nights.    

Even nature gets fooled. The daffodils and crocuses rise up demanding to be the first to show off
their finery, only to get hit by frost and slump miserably to the ground. Robins return, grow round-bellied, and start to build nests. Then bam! They get slammed by a snow shower and huddle together glaring, as if to say, “Whose idea was it to come back this early?!”        

I truly feel sorry for them. Mother Nature leads them astray year after year. Birds are so gullible.

Click here to see Your Country Neighbor's May edition online

Friday, May 29, 2020

Haibun published in May 2020 issue of YCN

Images of Corona: 
A modern haibun, which blends haiku images with prose 

Janet Sobczyk,  © 2020

Photos on Facebook 
creative ways to pass time 
connect with others.

Since we have to self-isolate and quarantine, people are trying to connect any way they can. We need to pass the time in constructive ways to avoid cabin fever. Parents are trying to work and school at home, and keep kids entertained. Social media has become more important than ever. Daily posts spread hope, provide news, and share photos of creative project ideas.

Restaurants are closed 
store shelves are bare, items rare, 
uncertainty reigns.

Going to the store feels like going into a war zone one minute and perfectly normal the next. Certain items are absent from shelves or in limited supply: toilet paper, Clorox wipes, tissues, rubber gloves, face masks. But other shelves look totally normal. In some aisles people may be casually shopping, keeping distance. In others there might be a dash and struggle for the last of something. Questions hover… so far the food supply is holding up, but for how long?

People at home cook 
have more time and less fast food 
eat meals together.

For modern American families who were constantly on the go, this time of isolation is a rare opportunity to slow down and enjoy cooking again. Or simply enjoy eating dinner together again… at a table instead of in the car dashing somewhere. It’s the silver lining of this pandemic.

Images on news 
rows of caskets, no mourners, 
waiting to be moved.

The photos from Italy and China, and even around the US, are chilling. Patients lie in rows on gurneys in crowded hospitals. Freezer trucks are parked at the back doors to hold those who pass because mortuaries are overflowing. Rows of plain wooden caskets, mass produced in a hurry, are full and waiting for cremation. Services can’t be attended by groups of mourning families and friends. Funerals have become small private affairs with little closure and no comfort. Shock chokes onlookers into silence.

Turn off the TV 
gather on couches to pray 
hope death passes by.

It feels like we’re Israelites during the first Passover, trying to escape the plague. They huddled in homes with lambs blood on their doorposts, hearing the wails of Egyptian mourners, praying to be spared.

Springtime… grass greens up 
bushes bud, flowers bloom and
 sunshine gives us hope.

We can’t dwell on the fear for long without going crazy. Thank goodness corona came as winter is ending. People and pets are taking walks to enjoy spring weather and to clear dark thoughts. Evidence of new life keeps us going. Look around. People are still getting married, babies are still being born. Nature gives us hope.

Click here to view the May 2020 online edition of Your Country Neighbor

Saturday, April 4, 2020

"Immigrant Dandelions" Published in Your Country Neighbor, April 2020

This beautiful sculpture stood in the Joslyn Museum's indoor fountain for many years,
then it was transplanted to an Omaha Public Library lobby where I took this photo.
I'm not sure what the artist intended, but it looks like a dandelion to me! 
Immigrant Dandelions
by Janet Sobczyk, 2018

They arrived, precious cargo
in the baggage of colonists
settling America
with high hopes for the future.

They emerged from careful wrappings
were planted, nurtured
used as food, medicine
and to prevent erosion.

Native Americans
learned their value
saw their versatility
appreciated their uses.

Now they are reviled
a blight on manicured lawns
weeds to be eradicated
by hand or chemical.

They defy extinction
multiplying quickly
migrating across the land
on gusts of untamed wind.

Little children are their allies
still blowing seeds
offering yellow blossoms
with innocent smiles.

Valued plant
or invasive pest
depends on your perspective
what does your eye behold?

Monday, March 23, 2020

"Envisioning Forgiveness" published today

My personal narrative was posted on today. I was blown away by the beautiful photos they found that illustrate this piece perfectly. Thanks, Braided Way staff!

And thank you, editor Laura Grace Weldon, for your kind words, "We hope the generous spirit shown in your work is a comfort to our readers."

You can read the entire piece here: Envisioning Forgiveness or go to

Thursday, February 13, 2020

"Checkmate in Church" published in a new book

Just in time for Valentine's Day... the story of how Tom and I met. 💗

Thanks, Yvonne Lehman, for including another of my stories in your latest book. 🥰
Click here to see Romantic Moments on Amazon. $16.99