Friday, August 31, 2012


I thought this would be an appropriate poem for Labor Day weekend because so many people do home projects over those three days.  

Redecorating  By Janet Sobczyk, 2011ⓒ

Her favorite colors were blue and green,
they added calm to her home and d├ęcor.
She saw a photo in a magazine
that gave her eyes a lift and her heart soared.
A kitchen dressed in bright yellow and red,
not her favorite colors but a change
for the room that kept her family fed,
it would wake them up and feel slightly strange.
So she bought light yellow paint for the walls,
a collection of red glass for the shelf,
bright red towels, and soon she was enthralled.
She did it alone just to please herself,
but when people walked in they loved it too.
She was surprised at the praise the room got,
much more than when it had been green and blue.
Should she change the bedroom too?  Maybe not.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Daily Treadmill

Now that school has resumed, this poem seems appropriate.  

When Andrea read this, she said it just looks like a to-do list in ryhthm.  Well, yeah, that's kinda the point. 

The Daily Treadmill
By Janet Sobczyk, 2010ⓒ  

Up at daybreak
Step in shower
Dress and make-up
Time for breakfast
Prepare lunches
Lug some laundry
Check the schedule
Scoot kids to school
Stop to get gas
Waltz through workday
Run an errand
Pick up kids now
Calm a quarrel
Whip up supper
Feed the dog, too
Hug a hurt child
Bandage boo-boo
Help with homework
Play a board game
Tuck the kids in
Read a story
Pray a blessing
Dash through dishes
Sweep the kitchen
Lug more laundry
Answer emails
Laugh at late show
Turn off TV
Kiss my sweetheart
Collapse in bed
Repeat tomorrow!

                              So why am I overweight?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Orphaned Bunny

This poem seems to follow naturally after the last posting about saving a butterfly. The reality is, not everything can be saved and not all endings are happy.

As children, when this happened, we didn’t know that wild bunnies are incredibly difficult to raise without a mama (who was found dead.)  We were sure we had loved it to death.

 Orphaned Bunny by Janet Sobczyk, 2012ⓒ

Dad found a baby bunny
With no mama around.
Scared and alone in the tall grass,
It didn’t hop away.
Dad brought it home to his daughters,
We thought it was so cute.
We took turns holding it gently
And took lots of pictures.
We named it and loved it so much,
Our sweet baby bunny.

But all babies need their mothers
As this one surely did.
Without its mom it wouldn’t eat
No matter what we gave.
It was tired and fell fast asleep,
But never did awake.
We gave it a sad funeral
And cried for our bunny.
We only had it for one day,
It was here and gone quick.
Forty years have now passed us by,
We still remember it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Broken Butterfly

This is not a photo of the preserved monarch.  It wasn't very photogenic.  :)

At the time this happened I was too young to know  that Monarchs migrate, live through the winter in a warm climate, and migrate back in the spring like birds.  I thought it was nearly a miracle that it lived so long and felt like it was a special gift.  In fact, after it died the next spring, we put it in an empty toffee tin and I still have it, almost perfectly preserved. 

The Broken Butterfly  By Janet Sobczyk, 2012ⓒ

I found it on the ground
With a bent, broken wing
Still alive and strug’ling.
I scooped it gently up
And carried it to school.
Monarch survived the day
In my small wooden desk,
Then I carried it home.
Fed on sugar water,
Let loose in my bedroom,
It rested and then crawled
And fluttered its good wing.
It sat by the window
To enjoy the warm sun.
My pal all winter long.

Andrea at age 10 looks a lot like I did when this story took place.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fairy Tale Riddle Poems

Carolyn & Andrea as blue fairies in 1993

I learned about cinquain poems in a Children’s Literature course this spring and had a lot of fun writing them in class. A cinquain is a five-line poem.  One easy format starts with a noun, then 2 adjectives, then 3 verbs, then a phrase, and finally a noun.

I decided to write cinquains about fairy tales and use them with my first-grade students when we have a little time at the end of reading groups.  Solving these riddle-like poems is great for critical thinking in primary grades.  Some of the words may need to be defined and discussed, though.

Fairy Tale Riddle Poems
By Janet Sobczyk, 2012ⓒ

 Guess the 15 tales from these poems & check the answers at the bottom.

1. Pea
Small, hard
Hiding, proving, sleep- stealing                                                  
From Royalty

2. Cottage
Unusual, sweet
Entices, deceives, traps                                                              
Into the oven
3. Shoe                                                                                   
Small, glass                                                                                                   
Lost, found, fits
Upon a lovely maiden

4. Queen
Vain, evil
Plots, poisons, pursues                                                            
To the dwarves’ house

5. Girl
Blond, curious
Breaks, sleeps, awakes                                                             
To a fright

6. Daughter
Beautiful, fishy
Swims, sings, deals                                                                   
To win her Prince

7. Castle
Enchanted, gloomy
Despairing, waiting, hoping                                                    
For a young lady

8. Wolf
Hungry, sneaky
Chases, disguises, awaits                                                       
Until girl with basket arrives

9. Wheel
Useful, dangerous
Pricking, sleeping, waiting                                                     
For true love’s kiss

10. Pigs
Happy, builders
Working, running, hiding                                                        
From the wolf

11. Cobbler
Gentle, kind
Working, sewing, sleeping                                                 
During the night

12. King
Vain, foolish
Wanting, waiting, parading                                                    
Without any clothes

13. Boy
Poor, foolish
Selling, planting, climbing                                                            
To find a fortune

14. Frog
Green, enchanted
Hopping, hoping, asking                                                                             
For a kiss

15. Maiden
Carolyn & Tom as Cinderella & Prince Charming, 2001
Lonely, bored
Brushing, braiding, Waiting                                                  
To be rescued

1. The Princess and the Pea
2. Hansel and Gretel
3. Cinderella
4. Snow White
5. Goldilocks and the 3 Bears
6. The Little Mermaid
7. Beauty and the Beast
8.  Little Red Riding Hood                                                                 
9.  Sleeping Beauty
10. The 3 Little Pigs 
11.The Elves and the Shoemaker
12.The Emperor’s New Clothes
13. Jack and the Beanstalk
14. The Princess and the Frog
15. Rapunzel