Monday, December 17, 2018

"Christmas Tree Goes on a Diet" Published

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

"Trespassing" and "De-Feathering My Nest" Published

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

Please check out the complete issue online at:

Saturday, June 23, 2018

2 Short Poems published in YCN, June 2018

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

2 Poems published in YCN, May 2018

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.

Monday, April 2, 2018

"Black Jelly Beans" and "Holes" Published

These 2 springtime poems, as well as an abbreviated version of "Pops of Red," appear in Your Country Neighbor, April 2018

Black Jelly Beans
by Janet Sobczyk ©️2018

No black jelly beans.
And by the day after Easter, no chocolate.
Grocery shopping
colorful Easter display
bag of black jelly beans.

Pick it up
sorrowful smile
clutching memories.

Used to buy these
only for Mom
no one else liked them.

Now she’s gone
still tempted to buy them
set the bag down.

Slowly walk away
Easter’s not the same
without black jelly beans.


by Janet Sobczyk ©️2016

It’s hard to enjoy
tromping through
fresh fallen snow
on a brisk winter’s day
when there’s a hole in your boot.

It’s impossible to enjoy
the pitter patter of raindrops
or the melting snows
of springtime
when there’s a hole in your roof.

It’s difficult to enjoy
the journey to
a long-planned vacation
or family reunion
when there’s a hole in your tire.

It’s bittersweet to enjoy
daily blessings
joyful happenings
and tender moments
when there’s a hole in your heart.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

"A Silent Retreat in Winter" Published

This was published in the March 2018 issue of Your Country Neighbor,
a rural Nebraska newspaper that I enjoy reading. Check it out online!

Peaceful reading room at St. Benedict Retreat Center in Schuyler, NE

A Silent Retreat in Winter 
by Janet Sobczyk, 2018

“An oasis of silence”
pamphlets proclaim 
nestled into a Nebraska plain 
quiet beckons 
I answer the call 
to a weekend of introspection.

Brick walls secure amid 
brown native grasses 
whispering secrets into the wind 
tell of burdens unloaded 
by troubled humans seeking 
rest, and answers.

Martin houses stand empty 
trees shiver naked 
evergreens form an honor guard 
flagpole ropes clap a rhythm 
an azure sky longs for 
the return of birds.

Inside, silence reigns 
voices turn to lowest volume 
carpeting hushes footsteps 
windows encourage day dreaming 
artwork begs a long look 
chapel awaits with magnetic pull.

At meals, utensils clink 
self-consciously against plates 
conversation in the kitchen 
intrudes through opening door 
ears perk at the sudden sound 
napkins dab satisfied mouths.

People arise 
smiling their goodbyes 
walk wordlessly to solitary nooks 
or meander pathways 
around a half-frozen pond 
created for reflection.

Time tells me to leave 
but heart wants to stay 
reading, writing, praying, listening 
heals the stress 
clears the head 
sends me on my way.

I wrote this while attending the January 2018 women’s silent guided retreat at St. Benedictine Retreat Center in Schuyler, Nebraska. The photo is a sunny, quiet spot where I enjoyed writing.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Pops of Red

During January and February, I yearn for spring, which seems so far away. The flower show at the Cathedral remedied my blues this weekend. I especially enjoyed the accents of red florals and berries, placed in stark contrast to the white lily and hydrangeas in this photo.

Gradually other pops of red entered my thoughts, and a list of couplets resulted. Some are commonplace and others fanciful.  My mind’s eye revels in the reds!

Can you think of more?

Pops of Red

By Janet Sobczyk, 2018©

Like a magnet, my eye is drawn to a pop of red,
regardless of emotion, that’s where it’s led. 

A male cardinal
on a snow-blanketed branch

A Flexible Flyer sled
at the crest of a hill

A first-to-show tulip
in a spring flowerbed

A poppy umbrella
on a gray rainy day

A freshly-painted barn
in acres of green

A cluster of bright balloons
in an azure sky

A spray of fragrant roses
on a polished casket

A potted geranium
on a wooden porch

A maroon door
on a white house

A meandering ladybug
on an open window sill

A cherished Valentine
on a crowded nightstand

A queen of hearts
in a handful of spades

A splash of burgundy
on a lace tablecloth

A Jonathan apple
in a basket of bananas

A red M&M
in a bowl of peanuts

A long-stemmed cherry
on a hot fudge sundae

A wedge of watermelon
on a flimsy paper plate

A garnish of berries
on sliced angel food

A splotch of ketchup
on a satin blouse

A set of manicured nails
around a steaming mug

A deep coral lipstick
on winter-paled skin.

A crimson wool coat
in a crowded church

An auburn ponytail
in a group of blondes

A single red carnation
on a black lapel

A ruby pendant
on a strand of pearls

A pair of scarlet stilettos
below a skinny black dress

A candy apple Corvette
in a row of silver sedans

Saturday, January 6, 2018

"Natural Order" a poem in five parts


This NE Writers Guild anthology was released in late December. I feel honored to have been included in it.

The  four-page poem, "Natural Order," is about my five children. 
Birth order and it's impact on personalities is the basis for the subtitles of the five parts. The "natural" part of it refers to things found in nature (a dandelion, a fawn, a cheetah, a dolphin, and a caterpillar) that are metaphors for each of my unique children.