Sunday, July 11, 2021

"Summer Reading" poem published in YCN


The table on my deck is a perfect reading spot
sun filters softly through familiar trees
birds twitter, chirp, coo
I settle in and sigh
allow the words to transport my mind. 

A temperate breeze drops a thin vine onto open book
helps the potted plant take a peek
at what’s holding my intent gaze on this page
startled I gently finger the tender young growth, move it aside
then pause to enjoy the sweet mint fragrance clinging onto fingertips. 

The familiar scent takes me back to Grandma’s house
to the mint patch along the side of her paint-peeling old house
it stretched out, growing along the gravel driveway
I’d inhale the scent, then pick through rocks to find white ones
use ‘em like chalk on the concrete walk.

The image elicits a smile
and a twinge of pain at childhood days long gone
then the vine returns
quivers with the slightest movement of air
creeps onto my page again… comforting.

Monday, June 7, 2021

"School Year Flashbacks" published in June YCN


It’s done 
the relief is real 
summer beckons… but 
before leaving the school year behind 
flashbacks scroll across my mind, a photo gallery: 

Glowing smiles of grads as they remove masks to pose 

Proud families gathered and hugs all around 

Prom held outside, beneath a cloudy sky, twinkle lights and magic holding back rain 

Green shirts on St. Pat’s with snacks and Zoom bingo 

Pink and red valentines, the giggles and blushes of young crushes 

A snowball throwing contest, lined up, arms ready, powdery ammo flies far

Trimming classroom trees with handmade dΓ©cor, wearing gaudy sweaters 

A turkey feast done differently, classrooms apart, but still delicious 

Halloween costumes with Covid masks 

Walking in autumn air, circling the parking lot for much-needed mask breaks

Labor Day weekend, the first respite for exhausted (already!) teachers and students 

Practicing new rules, cleaning, taking temps, learning how far apart 6 feet should be 

First day jitters amplified by pandemic fears 

It’s done 
this challenging school year is over at last 
looking back, so proud of everyone 
reaching across miles to remote learners, sharing smiles 
facing fears, changing plans, tackling new technology 
being there for each other through sadness and joy 
doing more than we knew we could and looking back… 
it was all for the good! 

This poem is dedicated to the students, teachers, and staff of Madonna School in Omaha, who made it through the whole 2020-21 school year in-person with a remote learning option. The photo above was taken by Janet at the Madonna School prom, of her daughter with date.

Click here to view this month's issue of Your Country Neighbor.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Penny poem published in May 2021 YCN

The Lucky Penny

“Find a penny
 pick it up 
 all day long 
 you’ll have good luck!” 

Back when penny candy 
was a thing 
it was simply grand 
made him sing 
a copper in hand! 

Grasped in chubby fist 
he’d rush to the store 
peer inside, make a wish 
and hope there’s more 
peppermint twists. 

Those days are long gone 
now spot a penny 
laying on the lawn 
it ain’t worth any 
folks just walk on. 

He’s old but a boy at heart 
when he spies one 
still plays his part 
it’s great fun 
almost an art. 

“A penny saved 
is a penny earned” 
this maxim he’ll rave 
this lesson he’s learned 
‘cause hard times he’s braved. 

He served in a war 
then lived on the street
the poorest of poor 
but fate brought a treat 
he’s poor no more. 

His childish ways 
all that penny collecting 
saved the day 
again made him sing 
boy, did it pay! 

As if it was planned 
spied a 1944 steel wheat penny 
held in his hand 
didn’t look worth any
but sold for $100 grand!

This fictional poem was inspired by National Lucky Penny Day, which is May 23rd. The value of the penny is not fictional.

By Janet Sobczyk, 2021

Click here to see the May issue of Your Country Neighbor.

Monday, April 5, 2021

An April showers poem published in YCN

Fair Weather Friend

by Janet Sobczyk, 2021 

At daybreak she yawns,
stretches, checks the weather
rain dissuades her
no use going out today.

Others awake, arise
make breakfast
encourage her to go out
it won't be so bad.

She shivers at the open door
feels the wind
backs away
not today.

Stays by the window
gazing at the storm
listening, waiting
resolved to stay inside.

Patter of raindrops slows
wind dies down
she's still reluctant
not wanting to get wet.

Owner scoops her up
declares she must
opens the door
plops her on soggy ground.

She looks up disgruntled
tiptoes away
does business quickly
scampers back.

Tolerates the toweling
grabs squeaky toy
runs in circles
relieved it's time to play!

Millie choosing to stay inside.

Click here to see the April 2021 issue of Your Country Neighbor

Sunday, April 4, 2021

First Grandchild's First Easter


Ruth the rabbit

In 2014 I posted on this blog "A Happy Easter" with two Easter family photos... from 1998 and 2014. Such a big difference from small children to grown children.



In that post I wrote about memories of Easter in church with small ones and was reminded of that today watching a family with 2 children a few pews ahead of us. Times are certainly different now as parents in masks struggle to corral toddlers... who still shriek and cry. That much is the same.  

But in that 2014 post I wrote,  "I look forward someday to having grandchildren, but not just yet, because I am happy in this precious moment. A moment that I know will speed forward just as quickly as all the other precious years did."

Well, 6 years definitely flew quickly and first grandchild Ruth arrived to light up our lives! Whether in person, in photos, or in video calls she never ceases to entertain us. And still, I am happy in this precious Easter moment.  

Happy Easter to all!

Click here to read the 2014 post "A Happy Easter" 

Friday, March 5, 2021

2 poems published in March YCN



Music in my School

It lifts my spirits

 that lilt of piano

 wafting down the hall

 whether by a skilled hand

 with smooth confidence

 or a beginner’s hand

 plinking with hesitance

 doesn’t matter

 it’s music the same

 tugs the corners of my mouth


 pause to listen

 just for the moment

 it calms stress

 inspires gratitude

 lifts thoughts

 above mundane concerns

 soak it in


 praise the player

 and thank the teacher.

March is “Music in Our Schools Month.” 
 This poem is dedicated to music therapists, teachers, and band directors everywhere, 
but especially those at Madonna School in Omaha. 

By Janet Sobczyk, 2021

A Popcorn Lover

She pretends to settle into bed but ears point to the door
 at the slightest kitchen rustle she’ll dash to beg some more.

 Plink, plink, plink, kernels hit the pan
 oil’s heated, salt’s ready, a midnight snack’s the plan.

 She waits, impatient, white popcorn overflows again
 bounces off counter, hits the floor. Win!

 She skitters and dives, nabs her prey
 triumphantly carries it away.

 Spits it out, bats it around
 picks it up and flops on the ground.

 Nibbles it carefully, not in a hurry
 then trots after the maker to dance in a flurry.

 He relents, tosses one high
 she biffs the catch, it bounces wide.

 She sniffs and tracks it down
 scarfs it, acts like a clown.

 The game resumes, simple and fun
 she leaps and catches the very next one.

 With popcorn she delights, it lifts the mood
 she loves to perform and play with her food.

 Did you know that March 11th is National Popcorn Lovers Day?

By Janet Sobczyk, 2021

Saturday, January 30, 2021

2 light-hearted nature poems in Feb. issue of YCN


Dancing Trees

By Janet Sobczyk, 2021

lined up 
like chorus girls 
not high-kicking 
but swaying in time 
to the winds of the storm 
snow swirling ’round them 
dusting, clumping on branches 
in unison they bend to the right 
forced to bow by a gust 
straighten up 
nod to their audience 
watching from the window.

Stinkbug in the House
By Janet Sobczyk, 2021

Slow and deliberate 
might buzz off quickly 
but crawls for now 
balancing angular body 
on delicate legs 
wanders close for a look at me 
then turns and creeps away 
the dog ignores it 
tried eating one once 
expected it to be 
as delicious as cicadas 
spit it out 
shook head in disgust 
took one more sniff 
then backed away 
still remembers that scent 
no longer is alarmed 
knows I’ll take it outside 
only to find another, later 
or is it the same one? 
keeps getting thrown out in the cold 
finds its way back inside 
feasts on houseplants 
blends in with woodwork 
ventures near the human 
oops! too close 
captured in a tissue 
back outside again. 

Note: 2020 was a bountiful year for stinkbugs because, due to the weather, 
they had two growth seasons instead of the typical one.

Click here to view Your Country Neighbor Feb. 2021 issue